"Today, I join all Nevadans in proudly welcoming President Obama to my alma mater, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As a mother, and the first person in my family to go to college, I know first-hand the invaluable role education plays in keeping Nevada's middle class families strong," she said in a statement. "The president and I agree that putting middle class families first must be Washington's number one priority.  That is why I applaud the President's focus on keeping student loans affordable for Nevada's middle-class families and look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure that no Nevada student sees their student loans rates double come July 1st."

Obama is making a speech at UNLV calling on Congress to extend lower rates for federal student loans.

While Berkley won't appear with Obama today — her campaign pointed to previously scheduled House votes in Washington, D.C. — the statement is a sign that she sees her fate closely tied to Obama, and believes his ability to turn out voters in the fall outweighs any concerns about backlash. A recent CBS poll showed Obama leading Mitt Romney by two percentage points in the state, while Heller led Berkley by the same narrow margin.