LEESBURG, Va. -- This report about a Barack Obama rally Wednesday in this historic community, founded in 1758 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, comes in a part of the state a John McCain adviser recently suggested was not part of the "real Virginia."
Now that's material Obama can work with.
For the first time since 1964, Virginia may likely give its 13 electoral votes to a Democrat. Obama stumped for Tim Kaine when he was running for governor, and Kaine returned the favor by becoming the second governor to endorse Obama's presidential bid when he started running almost two years ago.
Obama, running a coordinated campaign with Senate candidate Mark Warner, a popular former governor, is in a position to win this state (and the White House) bolstered by Democratic voters in northern Virginia, which includes several Washington, D.C., suburbs.
Obama has 50 offices in Virginia and has sent in one of his best organizers to run the Virginia general election campaign, Mitch Stewart, who was the Obama caucus director in Iowa -- Obama's first and most important victory. Stewart went on to be the Obama field director in Texas, state director in Indiana and senior adviser in Minnesota.
To this Yankee driving over to Leesburg from Washington, this town full of antique shops in horse country looks Virginian; for goodness sakes, I walked by a Civil War monument in "memory of the Confederate Soldiers of Loudoun County." I did not see any hammer and sickle flags. The bucolic landscape was disturbed by a stream of malls along Route 7 jammed with cars en route to the rally.
Last week, McCain senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said on MSNBC that McCain could win because he would do better in southern Virginia or what she termed the "real Virginia."
Obama lives for those openings.
On this chilly fall afternoon, Obama told a cheering crowd in Ida Lee Park, "I know some folks may not think so, but this looks like the real Virginia to me. This looks like authentic Virginia. And y'all look like a bunch of Virginians."
Obama has stumped in Virginia eight times since June. "I haven't seen a real Virginia and a fake Virginia, I've just seen Virginia."
New polling shows Obama running about 2-1 over McCain in northern Virginia, where most of the state's Democratic votes are.
Said Obama, "I feel like we've got a righteous wind on our backs here."