"You can trust him. You can count on him,” President Obama said of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias before supporters at his blockbuster fundraiser yesterday. The message was certainly tailored to moderates in Illinois, with whom the state treasurer -- dogged by "ethics" concerns
-- still has not connected. While Republicans in virtually every
competitive U.S. Senate race this year are polling horribly among those
middle-of-the-road voters, Giannoulias is only 6 points ahead of U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk among that constituency.
Giannoulias can probably help himself out in this regard by emphasizing issues on the stump (like gay rights, abortion rights, and clean energy jobs) that appeal to both moderates in Illinois and
his unenergized base. It wouldn't hurt to point out that Kirk -- once a respected environmental and
social "moderate" -- has turned 180 degrees on all of these topics,