SENATE CAMPAIGN

Webb Rallies Support With Obama

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) addresses a rally alongside James Webb in Alexandria.
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) addresses a rally alongside James Webb in Alexandria. "I need some help in the Senate," Obama said. (By Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)

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By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) joined Virginia Democratic candidate James Webb at a rally last night in Alexandria, a sign that national party leaders are stepping up efforts to unseat incumbent George Allen (R-Va.) in this year's Senate race.

Obama, the only African American in the Senate and a rising star in his party, said a Webb victory is critical to Democrats' efforts to win the six seats they need to regain control of the Senate.

"I need some help in the Senate," Obama told several hundred people in Market Square. "Everywhere I go, I get the same sense from people. They want to see a change."

Obama -- who built his speech around the phrase "I've had enough" -- chided President Bush for his foreign and economic policies while praising Webb, a former Marine who until recently was a Republican.

"I've had enough of folks who act tough on TV. I want someone who really is tough when it comes to our foreign policy," Obama said.

With polls indicating a close race, the Virginia contest is quickly becoming a key part of the nationwide fight for control of Congress.

Last month, Bush, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) traveled to Virginia to support Allen.

Former president Bill Clinton is expected to headline a Webb fundraiser next month.

Allen campaign officials said they aren't worried about Webb's high-profile support.

"We look forward to having . . . liberal Democrats campaign in Virginia for James H. Webb Jr.," said Dick Wadhams, Allen's campaign manager.

Obama's visit came as Webb tries to bolster his support among African Americans, a critical voting bloc for Democrats in statewide races.

Last week, Allen snagged the endorsement of state Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert III, a black Democrat from Richmond. Lambert credited Allen for having a record of support for historically black colleges.


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