Michelle Obama will come into Chicago on Wednesday to galvanize a voter constituency Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn both desperately need to stay in the hunt in this dark midterm moment for Democrats.
She will attempt to rev up the vote among African Americans and energize independent suburban women.
That latter group went in a big way for her husband in 2008. But, like a lot of voters despairing for this economy, they're not happy now.
Against this backdrop, in Washington D.C. Sunday morning, the nation watched Illinois' U.S. Senate race play out on national television.
Both men have stumbled in this race and in a Meet the Press interview with David Gregory, their missteps -- as much as the economy -- were front and center.
For Giannoulias, the issue is what did he know and when did he know it about when approving multi-million dollar loans at his now-failed family bank to men with organized crime connections?
"I didn't know the extent of their activities," Giannoulias told Gregory.
Not knowing "the extent" is a far cry from not knowing at all.
As for Kirk, the issue is why, with an exemplary military record, he felt the need to exaggerate or invent facts?
"I was careless," Kirk told Gregory.
Careless is a far cry from candid.
If these two Senate candidates agree on anything, it is that the next three weeks before the election will be brutal.