Fresh off his presser from last night, Barack Obama decided to flex some political muscle in upstate New York for the underdog Democratic candidate Scott Murphy. Murphy is running against Jim Tedisco in the 20th Congressional District and has gone from having a slim chance in the race to making this thing a toss-up. The district itself has more Republicans than Democrats, but Obama won big here last fall. So having the President publicly supporting you is a big deal.
From the AP:
The outcome of the race had already been associated as an early referenda on the nascent Obama Administration, but this shows Obama is ready to back up what is being said in the press. Of course, the President wouldn't be doing this if he didn't think Murphy had a shot, and most of the credit for that belongs to Scott Murphy for running an honest and credible campaign against an ethically challenged Albany politician of the worst order.
"I'm writing to you now because you have the opportunity to make a big impact on my efforts to bring about a lasting economic recovery," Obama said in an e-mail in which he announced his support for Democrat Scott Murphy and tied himself — and the popularity of his economic policies — to the outcome of the March 31 election.
It's no surprise that Obama is backing his fellow Democrat. But the popular president attracts supporters from across the political spectrum, making his support a potentially potent weapon for Murphy as the Democrat runs in a heavily Republican district against the well-known Jim Tedisco, the GOP leader of the state Assembly.
Obama has been stepping up his political activity in recent days, activating his grass-roots campaign apparatus, Organizing for America, in earnest over the past week to put pressure on Congress to back his budget proposal. Campaigning and fundraising are the next steps in a gradual ramping up of his role as chief of the Democratic Party even as he preaches the need for bipartisanship in governing.
Sent Wednesday to about 60,000 Democratic activists around the upstate New York congressional district, Obama's e-mail said Murphy "has the kind of experience and background we desperately need right now in Washington" and asked voters to send the venture capitalist and one-time small-business owner to Congress, "where we'll work together to get our economy moving in the right direction."