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Obama Heading to Southwest Virginia

Tim Craig

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will hold a town hall meeting in Lebanon in Southwest Virginia on Tuesday, marking his fourth campaign swing through the state since June.

Obama will discuss the economy during his visit to Lebanon High School. Lebanon, population 4,000, is located in Russell County in the heart of Virginia's coal country, where Obama performed poorly in the Feb. 12 primary. Obama got just 14 percent of the vote in the county, even though he had been endorsed by the region's popular congressman, U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D).

But Obama will be making his second trip to the region, underscoring his campaign's belief that he can improve his standing in rural America if he takes his message directly to residents.

Obama's visit is also another sign he plans to fight for Virginia's 13 electoral votes until the end, despite curtailing advertising recently in some other traditional red states, such as Georgia and Alaska. On Thursday, Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del), made two campaign stops in Virginia. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is also campaigning for Obama today in Northern Virginia.

Russell County could be key to Obama's hopes of picking up more votes in Southwest Virginia.

Although it has been traditionally Democratic, largely due to the influence of the United Mine Workers union, Russell County and the rest of the region are trending Republican because of residents' conservative views on social issues.

Former President Clinton carried Russell County twice during his presidential campaigns in the 1990s, and former Vice-President Al Gore won the county with 50 percent of the vote during his unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2000. But President Bush won Russell County easily in 2004.

In the 2005 governor's race, former attorney general Jerry W. Kilgore (R), who was from the region, easily carried Russell County. The following year, U.S. Sen. James Webb (D) won Russell County by 171 votes.

Obama most likely doesn't have to win Russell County this year, given his expected strength further east, but he will at the very least have to triple his primary showing to prevent GOP presidential nominee John McCain (Ariz.) from racking up crushing margins in the 9th congressional district.

By Tim Craig  |  September 6, 2008; 8:10 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , James Webb , Tim Craig  
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Great. WaPO comment forums are being taken over by spammers hawking websites that probably install spyware on your machine (for people crazy enough to be using IE).

Posted by: d_in_laurel | September 6, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

On November 4th, each voter will answer for him/herself the following question:

"Have you been paying attention the past eight years?"

All else - rallies, speeches, last minute creationist show ponies - is just fluff. Anyone with grey matter between their ears KNOWS this.


"Have you been paying attention the last eight years?"

Posted by: treetopflyer | September 6, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

It will be hard for Obama to get the backwards, under-educated, redneck vote no matter what he does. They are the GOP's natural constituency.

Posted by: diebrucke | September 6, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama should spend significant time in West Virginia while he is in that area . . .

Posted by: Jean | September 6, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Diebrucke, Obama doesn't have to win Russell County to win the state, but if he comes at least closer than Kerry there he might. And the news feeds from small town USA can help get his message across in other parts of Virginia and the country.

Posted by: 66kicks | September 6, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Baracudah is the best. She is going to save our country once she finishes receiving foreign policy lessons from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush & co. The way she delivered her convention speech that was written by Bush's speechwriters shows she is a good student.

Watch out Iran, Pakistan, Venezuala - Baracudah is on the way - Shock and Awe. We are going to obliterate all our enemies, real and imagined... McCain/Palin 08 - The 'Shock and Awe" ticket

Posted by: Sarah | September 6, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I love that - McCain/Palin 08 - the Shock and Awe Ticket. It would be nice to have Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz & co back at the White House as informal advisers considering how successful they have been in the past. Shock and Awe Ticket all the way

Posted by: Susan | September 6, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

carry me back, to old Virginny, that's where the cotton and the corn and taters grow, that's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime, that's where the Mao-Bama's heart longs to go.............

what a joke for the Marxist wannabee.

maybe we can post his written statements that he'd side with the Muslims................

let him go to WVA, maybe Sheets Byrd gives him the grand tour.

Posted by: theSwimmah | September 6, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"It will be hard for Obama to get the backwards, under-educated, redneck vote no matter what he does. They are the GOP's natural constituency.

Posted by: diebrucke | September 6, 2008 3:44 PM "

so can these alleged undereducated rednecks be any less intellectually challenged than your average Mao-Bama inner city dropout welfare state voter?

Posted by: theSwimmah | September 6, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, is a safe site although what it contains can shatter your illusions.

Dear Mr. Obama:

Posted by: Rufus | September 6, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Osama is wasting his time in SWVA. No way are we going to vote him in!

Posted by: nearbytown | September 7, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I guess It doesnt Matter. It wouldnt change my opionion though, I think Sarah Palin Should be the GOP nominee., not McCain. The Republicans are much more excited about palin then mccain., The new most famous person in the world.

This site has the inside scoop about the Palin Dui Secret, Why hasnt the news covered this?

This site has background info on sarah Palin Bio, Pics, Videos, Alot of Polls like how many people actually think that she is attractive?

This site has everything about her scandals, Levi the Boy Friend, what really happen with ebay plane.

Despite all of this, and her lack of experiance she would probably make a much better president then McCain., Because like Obama she hasnt been corrupted by washington yet.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 7, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

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