Obama's Got Perriello's Back

On Friday, President Obama will get the back of someone who's been protecting his from day one. The president will campaign in the 5th congressional district of Virginia--Charlottesville--for Rep. Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat who has voted with the administration on every issue of significance, including health care reform, the stimulus, and cap-and-trade.

As a reward for his diligence, Perriello has been a top target for Republicans. He's benefiting slightly from the fact that his challenger, State Sen. Richard Hurt, has to deal with a Tea Partier who managed to get a third line on the ballot. But the race is exceptionally close, and Hurt has made it so simply by linking Perriello to the Obama-Pelosi agenda. Perriello does have some independence to show off: he voted against the Wall Street Reform legislation and opposes gun control

Obama's visit tells us several things:

1. He's willing to make Perriello's re-election dependent on replicating the 2008 Obama turnout coalition.

2. The House remains in serious jeopardy for Democrats.

3. POTUS rewards loyalty, and that's something the "professional left" can appreciate.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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