Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has taped a radio commercial on behalf of U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah, who faces a July 15 primary challenge.
It's the first case of Obama involving himself in a local race in Georgia.
Details of when the ad will start airing and where it will be broadcast - the 12th District covers much of east Georgia, including portions of Augusta and Savannah - were not immediately available Wednesday.
But the Obama campaign made clear to my colleague Aaron Sheinin that it sees Barrow, a two-term Democrat, as an important ally. We've got calls into the Barrow campaign, but haven't heard from them yet.
Barrow is one of the most reactionary members of Congress, and he's facing a progressive primary challenger in Regina Thomas. I could go into Barrow's voting record, but you can just watch this ad he ran for his campaign.
70% of the primary voters in GA-12 are African-American. Barrow is white and has $1.3 million, Thomas is a progressive African-American and a state legislator, and has very little money. I don't know what kind of game Obama is playing, but using his remarkable brand to protect conservative Democrats is a move reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi endorsing Al Wynn. If Barrow loses, Obama has a progressive ally in Thomas. If Barrow wins, a conservative House Democrat owes Obama a big favor. It's a no-lose proposition for him.
As Obama consolidates his power within the party, note who he is bringing with him in terms of economic policy and foreign policy, and note who he is protecting politically.
It is up to us to create a progressive check on Obama, and we might just have our first opportunity.