Virginia's Rep. Scott Rigell fights Obama backlash

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Politics,Virginia,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Rep. Scott Rigell, the Republican who represents Newport News, Va. shipyard workers, has begun his campaign to explain why he joined President Obama on the trip to the Newport News Shipbuilding weeks ago, a move that's prompted conservatives to find a primary challenger to take his seat.

In his district newsletter Rigell explained that going to bat for his constituents trumped politics. "More communication, not less, is required," he wrote.

During the trip, Obama praised Rigell. "I've got to give Scott Rigell credit. He is one of your Republican congressmen who's with us here today -- and that's not always healthy for a Republican, being with me."

How true. Few would be surprised if Obama's praise is used by a prospective opponent. Fellow Virginian Rep. Bob Goodlatte told Secrets that similar Obama ties in political ads helped end the 28-year reign of another Virginian, Democrat Rep. Rick Boucher. "That was the ad," Goodlatte said of one featuring Obama saying, "I love Rich Boucher."