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New Jersery Gov. Corzine calls on Obama to boost campaign efforts

President Obama heads to New Jersey today to bolster the political chances of Gov. Jon Corzine, the Wall Street rich Democrat (and no-seat-belt-wearing car accident survivor) who is up for reelection this year.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll this week shows Republican challenger Chris Christie pulling away, with a 53% to 41% lead over Corzine -- up from a 10-point lead in last month's survey. One possible reason: Corzine recently signed a $2- billion budget that increased taxes and cut tax rebates.

Christie, mindful of Obama's popularity in the state, welcomed the president in a video ad that makes no mention of the governor.

While Obama tries to raise money and votes for Corzine, Vice President Joe Biden is stumping in Virginia, the other bellwether gubernatorial election this year. Attending a fundraiser in Richmond for Democrat Creigh Deeds, who is running behind Republican Bob McDonnell in the latest Rasmussen Poll, Biden hopes to sway red-state-turning-blue Virginia to remain in the Democratic column.

Politicos are watching both races. As MSNBC's First Read noted this morning, if Republicans win both, it would dim Obama's luster and give the GOP an opening for a political comeback. If the Democrats win both, of course, it would increase Obama's reputation as a commander in chief with long political coattails.

And if it's a split decision? Look for both to claim moral victory.

-- Johanna Neuman

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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