Can Michelle Obama Help Michael Bennet?

September 22 2010, 10:00 AM

First lady Michelle Obama usually leaves the partisan politics to her husband. But next month she’ll hit the campaign trail for the first time this year to "lend a hand to Democratic candidates struggling to hold on to their seats and to their majorities in Congress," writes USA Today. Stephanie Cutter, assistant to the president for special projects, says the first lady "comes to this as a mom, and that's the lens through which she sees the world, and that's her test for every issue—what it means for her daughters and all of our kids."

Among the handful of Democrats in six states who need her help is Colorado's Michael Bennet.

"Sure, it will help to raise funds, but it is qualitatively different from having the president come to the state," Colorado State University political scientist Kyle Saunders tells the Fort Collins Coloradoan. "President Obama visiting would activate the base and get volunteers energized more than the first lady will, even with a large media blitz. However, with the president's declining approval rating, it is likely that the Bennet campaign perceives too great of a risk of being even more tied in the press to the president than he already is, so hence the first lady's trip."

Meanwhile, Democrats are spending heavily on the issue of abortion rights in the Senate race, an effort meant to help Bennet appeal to independent women voters more than conservative Republican Ken Buck. "We've consistently seen women voters tend to decide later, be more open to information, to shifting their choices; so you see more ads targeted to women voters," Lori Weigel of Colorado's Public Opinion Strategies tells The Denver Post.