President Barack Obama speaks at a rally for Senator Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia, in Tysons, Virginia, on August 6.
Administration and party officials ripped Deeds and his campaign strategy in the Washington Post. All anonymously, of course.
A senior administration official said Deeds badly erred on several fronts, including not doing a better job of coordinating with the White House. "I understood in the beginning why there was some reluctance to run all around the state with Barack Obama," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about the race. "You don't do that in Virginia. But when you consider the African American turnout that they need, and then when you consider as well they've got a huge problem with surge voters, younger voters, we were just a natural for them."
A second administration official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "Obama, Kaine and others had drawn a road map to victory in Virginia. Deeds chose another path."
Whether there's truth to those comments or not, it's probably safe to assume that a big reason for the comments is to temper expectations should Deeds lose next month's election. With Deeds down big in most polls, a loss -- these faceless and anonymous sources hope -- won't weigh down Obama.
They're trying to turn this from a referendum on the president's policies into a referendum on what they view as Deeds' crappy campaign.
Deeds isn't having any of it, telling the Post that "the successful campaign is the one that tunes out the background noise and the doubters. Every campaign has them, and you've got to tune them out and go for the win."
Even if those doubters are in the White House?