LOS ANGELES (AP) — President Barack Obama is accusing Republicans of peddling “snake oil” as he asks voters who backed him over the GOP in 2008 for a repeat performance.
Obama was in Los Angeles raising money and rallying support for Sen. Barbara Boxer of California on Friday, day three of a four-day tour ahead of the Nov. 2 election.
Boxer is one of several endangered Democratic incumbents Obama is trying to help on a campaign trip that started Wednesday in Portland and ends Saturday in Minneapolis.
At stake is Democrats’ control of Congress.
At a fundraiser for Boxer at the University of Southern California, Obama acknowledged that the rough economy makes for a tough election for Democrats. But he said all Republicans are offering are the “same worn-out, tired, snake-oil ideas they were peddling before.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is in a tight race with former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is in a tossup campaign against tea party favorite Sharron Angle.
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Obama was addressing big outdoor rallies in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as private fundraisers for Boxer and Reid. In Los Angeles he was also taping a segment for a popular Spanish-language radio program, the Piolin show.
California also elects a governor on Nov. 2, and Republicans privately expressed concern about the fate of their candidate, Meg Whitman. They said private polls showed her falling behind former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in recent days, despite spending more than $150 million of her own funds on the campaign.
These officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to disclose confidential survey data.
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Everywhere he goes the president is asking voters to keep on believing in the promise of change, even though he himself acknowledges it’s been slow to come.
“Don’t let anybody tell you change isn’t possible. Don’t let them get you down,” the president, his voice hoarse, shouted to a crowd of 10,000 in Seattle on Thursday.
“The journey we began together was not about putting a president in the White House. It was about building a movement for change that endures.”
But the task of motivating voters is infinitely harder this time around. Apart from the country’s economic woes and the fact that Obama is no longer the fresh, new face he once was, turnout is always lower in non-presidential election years, and the party in control of the White House traditionally loses seats in Congress in midterm elections.
The White House is mindful of what’s at stake should the GOP increase its ranks in Congress, or perhaps pick up the 40 seats needed to win back control of the House. More Republicans could translate into scant progress on the to-do list for the second half of Obama’s first term.
A crowd of 30,000 people gathered at USC’s campus, where Obama appeared alongside Boxer and Brown. In a Democratic state where he remains popular, Obama has been generous with his support. He’s on his third trip in recent months to help Boxer raise money, and he recently taped a radio ad for her.
From Los Angeles, Obama was flying to Las Vegas to boost Reid, a top Republican target competing in the most closely watched Senate matchup this year.
Reid helped push Obama’s economic recovery, health care and financial regulation bills through the Senate but he’s unpopular in his home state, which is plagued by the nation’s highest rates of unemployment (14.4 percent) and home foreclosures.
In Seattle Obama stumped with Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and courted women voters. Women traditionally lean toward Democrats but the latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows that at a time of great economic angst those who are likely to vote are now split about evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
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