Continued from page 1

Nobody ever accused former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder of not speaking his mind - or going out of his way to compliment Tim Kaine.

In 2010, the former Democratic governor said his successor wasn’t the right fit to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Later that year, he suggested that President Obama drop Vice President Joseph R. Biden and opt for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as a ticketmate for his re-election bid.

And last week, he couldn’t help but point out the dearth of Virginia Democrats appearing with the president during Mr. Obama’s campaign-style bus tour that included several stops in the Old Dominion, which Mr. Obama won in 2008 and likely will need again in 2012 if he hopes to get re-elected.

“Have you noticed the absence of many Democrats with the president as he swings through the state?” he asked Chuck Todd last week on MSNBC. “The Democratic leader of the House has even taken out an ad saying, ‘I am not Obama,’ ” he added, referring to House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong, Henry Democrat.

But can Mr. Kaine win his Senate race against Republican George Allen next year without Mr. Obama carrying Virginia? Or could Mr. Allen win without the GOP presidential nominee securing the state?

It’s possible, Mr. Wilder said.

“I’m quite certain that Tim Kaine and the president, being friends as they are, have discussed it. They’ve talked about what the problems would be - they both need each other’s votes,” he said. “On the other hand, Tim Kaine is smart enough to know that independents play a significant role in this state, and to the extent that he is seen being too heavily involved with Obama, it could hurt him.

“On the other hand,” Mr. Wilder continued, “he needs the Obama base vote of the party and Obama needs some of the Kaine votes who still look like they’re supporting him.”

Got all that?

Bartlett gets out

Maryland Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett made a rare public appearance Friday, attending a small-business conference in Frederick one day after a potential challenger for his seat blasted him as ineffective and reclusive within his own district.

Mr. Bartlett, a Republican, attended the Smart Proc procurement conference, a spokesman said. The 10-term congressman has kept an increasingly low profile in recent years, raising few campaign dollars and seldom speaking at events in his 6th District. Mr. Bartlett, 85, likely will have to make many more appearances in the next yea if he hopes to win re-election in November 2012.

Tom Howell Jr., David Hill and David Sherfinski contributed to this report.