President Obama will make his first foray into the Virginia governor’s race Thursday when he headlines a fundraiser for Democrat Creigh Deeds. But given the state of the president’s health care plan and his flailing poll numbers, how much does Obama help?

A piece in today’s Washington Post examines that question, noting that despite being pushed by Republican Bob McDonnell, Deeds has steered clear of taking firm positions on the Obama administration’s efforts, particularly on health care…

Deeds has declined to take firm stands, commending the administration's intentions to limit greenhouse gas emissions and expand health care but objecting generally to actions that would strain small businesses and families. He has also accused McDonnell of focusing too heavily on federal issues, declaring in a recent debate that "I'm not running for Congress." And he skipped two health-care town halls hosted by Obama in Virginia in recent weeks, saying it would be inappropriate to mix campaigning with White House policy initiatives.

Supporters of the president say his efforts will pay off for Deeds. But Republicans are gambling that many of Virginia's middle-of-the road voters, who have backed Democrats in recent races, will be up for grabs as people grow more skeptical of Democratic leadership.

The latest polls in the race for governor show Deeds down by double-digits to McDonnell.

In Pennsylvania, where Rep. Joe Sestak has finally made his primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter official, Specter has wasted no time going after his new opponent. This was on Specter’s Twitter feed yesterday…

His months of indecisiveness on his candidacy raises a real question as to his competency to handle the tough rapid-fire decisions required of a Senator.

Of course Sestak wasn't exactly indecisive. Its been no secret that he intended to take on Specter, a decision Sestak's advisers say was made some time ago. Sestak told reporters Tuesday that he intended to focus on Specter’s voting record, and he questioned whether the new Democrat’s loyalty to his party will dissapear if he successfully wins reelection next year.

The health care ad war has already topped $52 million. Critics and proponents of the president’s health care overhaul are flooding the airwaves with ads in what is shaping up to be a record-breaking advocacy campaign. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group one of the hottest TV markets for health care ads has been Las Vegas, which has seen more than 700 spots aired. 

And TechPresident’s Nancy Scola has a look at a slew of videos of recent townhall meetings featuring angry constituents shouting down plans for health reform. The videos have been making the rounds on YouTube. Scola wonders whether the displays help or hurt opponents of the plan and examines some of the organizing tactics groups are encouraging to ensure future townhalls go viral.

Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. sdaprile@politicsmagazine.com