First Lady Michelle Obama embarks on a carefully orchestrated series of political events this week on behalf of Democrats.
Starting Wednesday, the first lady will visit Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado, California, Washington, New York and Connecticut over the next two weeks, stumping along the way for Democratic Sens. Russ Feingold (Wis.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.).
For Democrats, there is almost no potential downside to her numerous
appearances, said Myra Gutin, a professor at Rider University and an
expert on the role of the first lady.
A recent poll by the AP puts the first lady’s favorability ratings at 68 percent — well above President Obama’s.
“She’s a noncombatant in the war that is politics,” Gutin told ITK. “I imagine the state [Democratic Party] chairmen were clamoring, ‘Send her!’ to help with some of their tough races.”
Gutin said voters should expect to see Mrs. Obama keep the president first and foremost in her speeches, and steer clear of attacking GOP opponents.
“I would think she’d also do well to mention her ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative on the stump, too, because childhood nutrition is a really bipartisan issue.”
The first lady will be in New York on Monday night for a star-studded fundraiser on Broadway hosted by actress Sarah Jessica Parker and featuring a performance by Patti LaBelle. “Oh, wow,” Gutin laughed, “I bet she sells out the theater for that show.”