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Quick shots: Obama should steer clear of Emanuel

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roland Martin: President Obama shouldn't campaign for Rahm Emanuel now
  • Ed Rollins: Republicans sense momentum is shifting their way
  • The GOP campaign committee has again upped number of races it is targeting
  • Candidates in these races will get the money they need to be competitive, Rollins says

(CNN) -- Editor's note: There are 26 days to go before voters cast ballots in the hotly contested midterm elections. In this special feature, CNN's political contributors share their quick thoughts on what's making news.

Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable network and host of a Sunday morning news show.

Ed Rollins is senior presidential fellow at the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University, a principal with the Dilenschneider Group and a former White House political director and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Martin: Obama must avoid Emanuel at all costs

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As President Obama travels to Illinois to lend a hand to the campaigns of U.S. Senate candidate Alexis Giannoulias and embattled Gov. Pat Quinn, he should stay focused on them and not his former chief of staff.

As Rahm Emanuel crisscrosses around Chicago, he is drawing lots of attention. But when the president comes to town, the attention needs to be lavished on the two races in November and not a local race in February.

Obama will likely avoid mentioning the Chicago race, but he is always likely to go off script. This is one time when the teleprompter is important. Quinn and Giannoulias are locked into tough races and need all the face time they can get.

Rollins: GOP gains momentum, targets more races

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The story of the day is that the National Republican Congressional Committee has expanded its target list from 55 seats to 62. And the committee has committed to spending $45 million on television ads.

This is a further increase from the original 41 districts it had targeted in August. The committee also has doubled down on the money it is spending -- from $22 million it had planned midsummer. What it shows is the momentum has clearly shifted, and many Democrats who thought they were invincible are now in the battle of their lives.

Each of these targeted races will get an average of $725,000 for television ads, and it allows them to use their campaign funds for get-out-the vote efforts and mail and radio campaigns.

It certainly ups the ante for the Republicans to win the 39 seats needed for a majority and assures that all serious challengers will have sufficient resources to run a winning campaign.

The potential future speaker, John Boehner, showed his commitment and confidence by contributing $ 1 million in political action committee funds to the congressional committee's cause, and other members committed $4 million.

The opinions expresssed in this commentary are solely those of the authors.