Obama headed to Massachusetts to stump for Coakley

President will reportedly campaign for the senatorial candidate on Sunday

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 15, 2010 6:52PM (EST)

Massachusetts Democrat Martha Coakley will get some big-name help in the final days of her campaign to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. President Obama will reportedly travel to the state in order to campaign on Coakley's behalf Sunday.

Given the surprisingly close nature of Coakley's race against Republican Scott Brown, there are a couple ways to look at this: The White House may have decided that Coakley will win -- even given Brown's surge, this still seems like the likeliest option, given Massachusetts' political leanings -- and that it wants to get Obama some credit for the win. Or perhaps Coakley's doing so badly that they've decided it's worth the risk of tainting Obama with a loss, since he'd likely get a decent share of the blame for it anyway, and the defeat would mean a serious setback for, if not the outright death of, healthcare reform.

Update: On Twitter, Politico's Mike Allen provided one possible answer. He says the decision to send Obama means his political team thinks the race is winnable, and reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Advisor David Axelrod "called around" to see if it was still possible to save Coakley before pulling the trigger.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2010 Elections Barack Obama Martha Coakley War Room