First lady hits Senate campaign trail
© Greg Nash

The president might be shying away from some of the nation’s toughest Senate races, but there will be an Obama appearing alongside Democrats scrambling to keep hold of the upper chamber later this week.

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First lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause Biden, Obamas and celebrity guests announce coronavirus vaccination TV special Obamas describe meeting Prince Philip in statement mourning his death MORE will travel to Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado for events supporting Democratic Senate candidates later this week, the White House announced Monday.

That includes a swing through Iowa City on Tuesday for a voter rally with Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyThe Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster OPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP MORE (D-Iowa), who is vying to replace retiring Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinWe need a voting rights workaround Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits Two more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers MORE (D-Iowa). It’s not the first lady’s first trip to the Hawkeye State to bolster Braley’s campaign, although Democrats are hoping for better headlines this time around. 

Earlier this month, Obama repeatedly botched Braley’s name at a campaign rally, referring to the to the Iowa lawmaker as “Bruce Bailey.”

The stop comes also less than a week after Braley blasted the administration’s Ebola response during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing earlier Thursday, saying he was "greatly concerned … that the administration did not act fast enough responding" to the first U.S. Ebola case in Texas.

Two healthcare workers have been subsequently infected by the deadly virus, prompting tough questions about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's handling of the case and procedures for disease outbreak.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Braley was "somebody that has a reputation for being willing to speak truth to power, whether they’re in the same party as him or not."

"I think this is another indication that he's willing to do that," Earnest said.

After visiting Iowa, the first lady will jet up to Minneapolis for a get-out-the-vote event with Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart Franken#MeWho? The hypocritical silence of Kamala Harris The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls Gillibrand: Cuomo allegations 'completely unacceptable' MORE (D-Minn.). While the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian won his seat by only a few hundred votes six years ago, recent polls suggest he’s expected to easily win reelection.

That’s not true of Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallKennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a 'whack job' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland courts moderates during tense confirmation hearing | GOP's Westerman looks to take on Democrats on climate change | White House urges passage of House public lands package Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' MORE (D-Colo.), who Obama will appear alongside on Thursday. The first lady will headline grassroots campaign events for Udall in Fort Collins and Denver.

Udall’s Republican opponent, Rep. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE, has led in every public poll released since September.

In July, Udall generated headlines after choosing to skip a fundraiser he was scheduled to attend with the president in Denver. A spokesman said Udall needed to stay in Washington to vote for the confirmation of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.