First lady Michelle Obama will make the short trek to Virginia on Thursday to campaign with Terry McAuliffe, as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate highlights the record of E.W. Jackson.
"Michelle is taking the time to support this campaign because the stakes couldn't be higher for Virginians who need a governor to put jobs first instead of pushing a divisive social agenda," McAuliffe wrote in an email to supporters, promising to enter $5 donors into a drawing to meet the first lady.
Obama's visit coincides with McAuliffe's efforts to paint GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli's Republican ticket as socially activist and hostile to women, continuing a major theme used by Democrats in campaigns nationwide last fall.
Virginia's Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, black minister and activist E.W. Jackson, compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and derided black voters' "slavish devotion" to the Democratic Party in a YouTube video recorded in September.
"The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil-rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions," Jackson said. "Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was, and the Democrat party and their black civil-rights allies are partners in this genocide."
In responding to criticism over this remark, Jackson said he was merely echoing a position Cuccinelli had taken: that abortion, like slavery, is a moral issue that history will demonstrate to be wrong.
"Start at the beginning, slavery. Today, abortion. History has shown us what the right position was," Cuccinelli has said.
"By the way, my comment about abortion was in support of Cuccinelli's comparison of the moral dilemma abortion presents, just as slavery did," Jackson told the Daily Caller, when asked about criticism of his remark.
Abortion was a big issue in the Virginia race before Jackson was nominated. Cuccinelli, a social conservative, opposes abortion and is backed by the anti-abortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List. Planned Parenthood has criticized him, launching the website KeepKenOut.org to oppose his candidacy.