The president and first lady are both featured in a new TV ad for Illinois Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias (D). It's the first time President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have appeared in the same commercial for a candidate — a sign of how important the White House considers the Senate race.

The Obamas don't appear together but are featured in separate clips praising Giannoulias. 

The ad tightens Obama's connection to Giannoulias's political fortunes, which poses some risk. The Democrat has been under fire from Republican rival Rep. Mark Kirk for his role in loans his family’s bank made to convicted felons while he was a senior loan officer. Broadway Bank collapsed in April. A report examining the causes of its collapse was expected before Nov. 2, but the inspector general's office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced last week the report will be delayed until after the election.

The latest Chicago Tribune poll showed Kirk leading Giannoulias 44 to 41 percent, with 7 percent undecided. Kirk's lead fell within the poll's margin of error.