Michelle Obama to enter the midterm campaign fray

Holly Bailey
September 21, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama is preparing to hit the campaign trail on behalf of embattled Democrats.

The White House announced Tuesday that she will make at least nine campaign stops in six states next month — a fairly tough schedule for a first lady who has admitted she doesn't enjoy the campaign trail.

According to the preliminary schedule, Obama will hit the road beginning Oct. 13, when she'll help raise cash in Milwaukee for embattled Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold. She'll go from there to Chicago, where she'll stump for Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for Senate in Illinois, and three local House candidates.

The next day, Obama will headline a fundraising luncheon in Denver for Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. On Oct. 18, she'll travel to Manhattan for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. On Oct. 25, she's scheduled to travel to Seattle, to hold a fundraiser for Sen. Patty Murray, who faces a tough re-election bid.

From there, she heads to California, where she'll first raise cash for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco, followed by a DNC fundraiser in Los Angeles. She'll wrap up her Western swing on Oct. 27, when she's scheduled to campaign with Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is facing a tougher-than-expected re-election challenge from Republican Carly Fiorina.

[Photos: See the latest images of Michelle Obama]

It's no secret why Democrats want the first lady to campaign with them: She's one of the most popular figures in Washington. According to a recent Associated Press/GFK poll, her approval rating is currently at 68 percent— nearly 20 points higher than her husband's.

President Obama has previously campaigned for all the candidates on his wife's stump list, except for Feingold. But just last week, Bennet declined to say whether he'd like to have the president return on his behalf before Election Day — a sign of how the president's dismal poll ratings have made some in his party extremely nervous.

Obama is hardly the only first lady to step in for an unpopular president.  Laura Bush often stumped for candidates who preferred not to appear with her husband. Like Obama, George W. Bush often spoke about her distaste for the campaign trail -- but as with other White House duties, it's a job that few first ladies can avoid.

(Photo of Michelle Obama with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at a September anti-obesity event in New Orleans: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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