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Analysis: Obama To Campaign In Va., Delaney Vs. Bartlett Heats Up

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David Hawkings, CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing

President Obama's re-election campaign underscored the importance of Virginia as a battleground state this week as it announced its first official campaign stop will be at Virginia Commonwealth University. Meanwhile, Democrats are elevating the importance of a Congressional race in Maryland. And downtown Washington will be buzzing this weekend with one of the highest profile events of the year.

David Hawkings, editor-in-chief of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, talks with WAMU Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about the week in politics. Here are some highlights:

On why the President choosing to start his campaign in Richmond: Even if you work hard to try and push those battleground states to see how they're leaning, you get down  to about four states that you really can't even predict, and Virginia is one of them," Hawkings says. "Richmond is the second biggest media market in Virginia … the President … wants to get on TV in Richmond. And of course, he's counting on the youth vote, and there's no better place to go for the youth vote than a big college campus."

What inclusion in the national Democratic party's 'Red to Blue' program will mean for Maryland Congressional candidate John Delaney: 'Red to Blue is the premiere fundraising and organizational support program put together with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," Hawkings says. "The DCCC is the group that's in charge of trying to have the Democrats try to pick up the 25 seats they need to take back the House, and they are absolutely counting on John Delaney to be one of those 25." 

Where that leaves Delaney's opponent, incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett: "It's important to note that Republicans have not given up on Roscoe Bartlett," Hawkings says. "They have put Roscoe Bartlett in their similar program, the "Patriot Program," giving him the same sort of financial and organizational help. This is going to be one of the great barn-burner races of the fall right in our backyard." 

On why the White House Correspondents' Dinner in D.C. this weekend has become such a big deal: "Ever since a few news organizations started bringing in outside-the-beltway, bold-faced names to the dinner, it's sort of escalated like a great arms race," Hawkings says. "Media organizations want to use his weekend to get their own marketing done, to reward clients and advertisers. So they bring their top advertisers and clients to town, along with bold-faced names, and nobody wants to be outdone."

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