Democratic attorney general candidate Patrick Murphy sees opponent Kathleen Kane's endorsement from former president Bill Clinton, and raises them a top advisor to the current commander in chief.
The former Bucks County congressman added senior Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod to his list of supporters this afternoon following an event at a Philadelphia law firm.
In a phone interview after his appearance, Axelrod said his trip was a showing of personal backing and that the president likely will not make formal endorsements during the primary.
But he did emphasize that Murphy, who was an early Obama backer, was an "extraordinarily talented" ally of the White House during his second term on Capitol Hill.
"Patrick has been a friend and supporter of President Obama," Axelrod said. "In the Congress he was really a go-to guy when we were trying to handle the war in Iraq responsibly. When we wanted to end the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, Patrick took that on."
Murphy was the only Pennsylvania candidate to receive some political assistance from Team Obama during the quick trip, with Axelrod calling it an "exceptional case."
He declined to say whether others, like U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, may get some support this fall. Axelrod described Casey, who will be taking on one of the five Republican contenders, as "a stalwart" for Pennsylania: "He's got great values. He's another person for whom I have such high regard and the president does as well."
As for the president's own political battles, Axelrod said Pennsylvania will again be a key state in the general election, and that he expects a closer race than the 54-44 win they tallied in 2008. He touted the president's efforts toward boosting the sluggish economy and aiding the auto industry as policies aimed at helping the middle class to grow again.
He also said he expects to see the Republican primary here continue the patterns seen elsewhere, in which Romney's "super PAC wrecking crew" outspends the rest of the GOP field "four or five to one and then they muscle through with marginal victories." (That muscle can already be seen, with reports of the Romney campaign's $3 million ad buy here being called a "blitzkrieg.")
"I think they are desperate to end this race," he said, adding that the May primaries "will not be great for Romney."