Politics Aplenty in the Old Dominion

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Yesterday was a busy day for politics in Virginia, with Obama rallies in Richmond and Leesburg, as well as a visit to U.Va by MSNBC.com political cartoonist and editor of the widely-read Cagle Cartoon Index, Daryl Cagle. (Disclosure: my cartoons appear on the site.) Brought here by Larry Sabato’s Center for Politics, Cagle spoke at the Small Special Collections Library.

Before we get to that, though, I wanted to point out the stark difference between the look and feel of Obama’s rally in Richmond and the Palin rally last week. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has been making slideshows with audio for each event. Here’s the one for the Obama rally; here’s the one for Palin complete with snippet of Hank William Jr.’s ode to the campaign. Neither one contains any shocking details — but they show how vividly the race is playing out in terms of, well, race, in Richmond.

Up in Leesburg, Obama seized on that McCain spokeswoman’s line about the "real Virginia" that I mentioned in the previous post. According to the Chicago Sun Times:

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."

Good for him.

In the afternoon I attended Cagle’s presentation, which was less about the election than political cartooning in general. Afterwards, people lined up with his new compendium of campaign cartoons to have Daryl draw in them; perhaps somewhat tellingly, he found himself fielding requests for Obama after Obama.

At a late-night dinner at Bizou with staff members from the Center for Politics and Politics professor Paul Freedman, Daryl was still drawing away. I asked Prof. Freedman about his thoughts on Obama’s chances in Virginia, and he seemed to think they were good, noting how the battle is mostly being waged on red territory — states that went for Bush in ’04. Today, another hopeful sign: Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has officially moved Virginia from "toss-up" to "Leaning Obama."

Still, all the McCain-Palin signs in my neck of the woods in Albemarle County leave me a little nervous. How does your neighborhood look?