First Lady Michelle Obama
picks and chooses where she travels, so the political implications of her two-stop official government trip to Nevada on Tuesday -- where she will appear with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
(D-Nev.), who is in a difficult re-election battle -- are noteworthy.
On Monday, Mrs. Obama flew from Chicago to Washington, arriving in the evening after a Memorial Day weekend in her hometown that started last Thursday.
On Tuesday morning, Mrs. Obama headed to Reno and Las Vegas. In Reno, she headlines the 2010 Women's Summit, hosted, according to the White House, by Reid. The summit will focus on "healthy women, healthy communities and a healthy planet."
From there the first lady will go to Las Vegas, where she launches "Let's Move Outside!," a new component of her "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity. Mrs. Obama is been promoting exercise for ages by now, with a gathering of kids last week on the South Lawn of the White House
the latest example. Both the first lady and Reid will speak at this event.
Reid's re-election prospects have brightened lately, according to a new poll. With Nevada's primary coming up on June 8, a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey released last week shows, for the first time, that Reid can be re-elected, no matter who the GOP nominee is. A month ago, Reid trailed the three main Republican contenders.
Mrs. Obama has officially done just one political event for the 2010 cycle: Last month at the Democratic National Committee's Women's Leadership Forum
, she spoke to a mostly female audience of about 500, who donated from $250 to $5,000 to the DNC to attend the event.
No matter who is in the Oval Office, local officials are often asked to attend events when a president or first lady comes to town. But a week before the Nevada primary, Reid is clearly being highlighted by the White House. He benefits from Mrs. Obama's official visit by being featured with her; it helps rallies his troops and assists Reid in appealing to female voters
In Las Vegas, the latest "Lets Move" angle has Mrs. Obama calling for kids and families to exercise outdoors. She has picked a spectacular place: Red Rock Canyon, just outside the city and away from the chaos of the Strip. (I hiked around a part of the area last year; the setting is beautiful.) From the White House: "The event will highlight the many different opportunities for children and families to get physical exercise while also enjoying our nation's most treasured public lands, conservation areas, and national parks administered by agencies such as the U.S. Department of the Interior."