Could Michelle Be the Secret Weapon for Dems This Fall?

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Yesterday when Speaker Pelosi went to the White House, following a tense few days of family feuding after White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ remarks on Sunday that Dems could lose the House, she had a series of demands. Leveraging her caucus’ outrage – aired to reporters yesterday – Pelosi wanted more money and more help ahead of the midterm elections. Interestingly, one of the surrogates Pelosi asked to step up: First Lady Michelle Obama.

I have a story in this week’s dead tree edition (starting at $1.99 weekly for the print subscription and $4.99 on the ipad) about how Michelle Obama is one of the surrogates in most demand by congressional candidates. Dozens of Democrats in the House and Senate have requested events with her. It’s easy to see why: she beats out her husband in approval ratings by 14 points in TIME’s latest poll and she’s untainted by the partisan food fights that have embroiled her husband the last two years.

Hill sources tell me that Michelle is particularly popular with women candidates and in districts where the black vote was pivotal in 2008: there are 10 CDs that are toss up or lean Republican where black turnout is expected to swing the race. Thus far she’s only appeared with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, though the White House says that they’re considering further requests. Of course, campaigning will, by definition, make her more partisan and likely less popular so the White House may want to hold back their secret weapon for another election: the one in 2012.