Gibbs: Virginia as 'purple as it can get'
Speaking to reporters on board Air Force One en route to this afternoon's rally in Norfolk, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Obama will not be returning to Virginia for Creigh Deeds after today.
"Not that I'm aware of," he said, before noting that he will be returning for a day of stops for Democratic governor Jon S. Corzine (N.J.).
"Look, certainly at a federal level, I mean, we were happy to see the progress in the commonwealth, but also understanding that Barack Obama was the first Democratic candidate to carry that state since 1964," Gibbs said, according to a transcript of the gaggle, explaining why Deeds is not doing better in the polls against Republican Bob McDonnell. "So I think everybody understands that it was -- you know, Virginia is a -- is probably as purple as it can get, certainly among a presidential state, given the fact that it's been in the red column for so long."
He rejected the idea that Deeds has been adversely impacted by perceptions of Obama, specifically citing this morning's Washington Post poll that showed that 70 percent of likely voters said their views of Obama will play no role in their vote. Of the 3 in 10 who said the president will play a role, half said they will be voting to express support for him rather than opposition.
"Obviously I think any number of factors go into what has happened in each state, and I think one of the factors that goes into Virginia is a Democrat that's been outspent," Gibbs said.
He said the White House is "very comfortable" with the level of support it has provided Deeds, noting Obama's role and Vice President Biden's two fundraisers, as well as help from the Democratic National Committee.
October 27, 2009; 4:27 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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