Obama Sells Reid to Las Vegas Voters

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 22: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appear at a campaign rally at Orr Middle School Park October 22, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Reid, who is seeking his fifth term, is in a tight race with Republican challenger Sharron Angle. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barack Obama;Harry Reid
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
President Obama came to Nevada to try to save the political life of one his most important political allies, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"I want to a partner in the United States Senate named Harry Reid," he told the crowd.

"Harry is not the flashiest guy, let's face it," Mr. Obama said to peals of laughter outside a Las Vegas middle school. "Harry kind of speaks in a very soft voice. He doesn't move very quickly. He doesn't get up and make big stem-winding speeches. But Harry does the right thing."

At one point, President Obama interrupted the crowd's chants.

"I appreciate everyone saying 'Obama,' but I want everyone to say 'Harry, Harry, Harry,'" Mr. Obama instructed, leading the crowd. "That's right."

Special Report: Campaign 2010

Reid is running neck-and-neck with Republican Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favorite who blames Reid for the state of the economy.

"We want to pass down to our children and grandchildren liberty and freedom, not $13 trillion in debts," says one Angle ad.

On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," CBS News political analyst John Dickerson said that the Nevada race is all about the economy. "Majority leader is in bad shape in that state. People are blaming him, his disapproval number is high, much over his approval number, and it's really a question whether they can grind out the votes there. It will go right down to the wire.

Mr. Obama coming in helps Harry Reid, Dickerson said, but it also plays into his opponent's campaign. "Angle ran an ad with the president in it," Dickerson said. The ad pins federal deficits, lost jobs, foreclosures and bankruptcies on images of the smiling, hugging Obama and Reid.

Reid acknowledged the dismal unemployment figures at a news conference earlier Friday, where he heralded thousands of new jobs in roadway construction, the latest jobs event he has held in the final days of the election.

"We found ourselves in a hole that I didn't dig, but I have dug, dug and dug to try to get out of that hole," Reid said.

Democrats hold a notable edge over Republicans among registered voters in Nevada, but unpredictable independent voters make up roughly 21 percent of the electorate. In Clark County, Democrats have built a steady lead since early voting began Oct. 16, with 41,560 votes cast compared with 33,747 from Republicans as of Thursday.

Obama voters carried U.S. Rep. Dina Titus into office in 2008. At the rally, she begged for an encore.

"You are my army," Titus said. "You are my family, and we need you now more than ever to help Democrats win this."

But her rival, Republican Joe Heck, said President Obama's shine has tarnished

"Nothing has improved in Congress," Heck told The Associated Press. "In fact, things have gotten much, much worse since he took office."

President Obama's get-out-the-vote rally followed similar visits in Portland, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Earlier Friday, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid, the President spoke at a rally and a fundraiser in California for Barbara Boxer, another Senate Democrat who's facing a tough re-election bid.

Mr. Obama accused Republicans of wanting to take the country backwards, telling the crowd that the GOP was "clinging to the same worn-out, tired, snake oil ideas that they were peddling before."

For the president, there's still plenty more of this before November 2.

On Saturday as he heads home, he'll stop in Minnesota. Then, next weekend he'll hit the campaign trail for the final time before Election Day with stops in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.