Obama tries to salvage Dems as final dash begins



Obama tries to salvage Dems as final dash begins Chicago: President Barack Obama returned to the city where he established his political base, calling on supporters to defy expectations and tamp down a Republican tide that many people expect to crest in Tuesday's elections.

The rally Saturday was part of a four-state weekend campaign dash in states Obama carried in 2008 - Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois and Ohio, but where Democratic candidates for the Senate, House and governorships are struggling and where voters are angry about the economy, bailouts and high unemployment.

"Chicago, it's up to you to let them know that we have not forgotten, we don't have amnesia," the president told a large outdoor crowd near his home, referring to the economic recession that hit during George W Bush's presidency. He said the election is a choice between the policies that caused the problems and policies that will lead the country to better times.

Obama's efforts were shadowed by fresh news of a weak economy still struggling to create jobs and a terror probe on three continents after two mail bombs sent from Yemen were found on cargo planes.

As the Republicans and Democrats mounted their final get out the vote drives in what has been an ill-tempered and polarising campaign, tens of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington for a "sanity" rally organised by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who host late-night cable TV satirical news programmes.

Organisers insisted the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear," wasn't about politics. Still, supporters and left-leaning advocacy groups hoped it would rekindle some of the voter enthusiasm for Democrats seen in 2008, particularly among young adults.

Obama was making a last-ditch plea to the party's core supporters, particularly young voters, to approach Tuesday's elections with the same enthusiasm that brought him to the White House and a wave of Democrats to Congress in 2008.

"It is difficult here in Pennsylvania, it is difficult all across the country," Obama told about 1,500 cheering students and volunteer campaign workers at Temple University in Philadelphia, a Democratic-leaning city he has visited often.

The weekend tour marks the president's last campaign swing of the election season, with Republicans expecting big victories on Tuesday. Obama's sagging popularity has limited his ability to save Democratic candidates, and his legislative agenda may be deeply complicated if the Republicans take over the House, as many expect.

PTI