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Obama's Final Campaign Push: Can He Stop a GOP Tsunami?

President Obama addresses a get-out-the-vote campaign rally in Minnesota last weekend. AP

If Democrats take a big hit on Tuesday as expected, President Obama wants to be sure it won't be for lack of trying on his part.

In the home stretch of Campaign 2010, he embarks Friday evening on a final three days of politicking that takes him to Democratic events in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois and Ohio.

It's a last-ditch effort by the president to minimize projected Democratic losses in the midterm election Tuesday, in the hope his party can retain control of both chambers of Congress.

"Together we are going to be able to save our majorities and elect strong Democrats up and down the ballot," Mr. Obama said Thursday night in an online pep talk to get-out-the-vote volunteers recruited by Organizing for America, the current incarnation of his presidential campaign.

"But it's gonna depend on turnout and enthusiasm and that means you guys," the president told his small army of supporters who have pledged to knock on doors, telephone, and escort Democrats to the polls on Tuesday.

That's the White House-led Democratic strategy in a nut shell. Since Labor Day, all Mr. Obama has been trying to do is energize his political base so that the groundswell of supporters who catapulted him to the White House in 2008 will vote this year to keep Dems in power in Congress.

"I've got to have you come out in droves and vote in this election," the president told a fund-raising rally Monday in Providence, Rhode Island. "You've got to come out and vote."

Well aware of widespread predictions that Democrats will lose control of the House, and narrowly hold onto their majority in the Senate, Mr. Obama publicly adheres to the view that if everybody who voted for him in 2008 votes again now, he's "confident" Democrats will remain the majority party in both chambers.

By the location of his rallies, and selective interviews, Mr. Obama has been reaching out to key elements of his political base.

In recent weeks:

  • He has made appeals to young people by doing a series of Democratic get-out-the-vote events on college campuses including: the University of Wisconsin in Madison; Bowie State University in Maryland; Ohio State University in Columbus; the University of Washington in Seattle; USC in Los Angeles; and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
  • He phoned into Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show in New York and Rickey Smiley's hip-hop morning show in Dallas to convey his message to African-Americans.
  • He dropped by the Univision Radio studios in Los Angeles last week to chat with Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo, big with Latino audiences.
  • He met at the White House Wednesday with five bloggers who appeal to progressive Democrats.

And he went on the Daily Show with John Stewart Wednesday night to make his case to the young adult demographic in its audience of about a million viewers.

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In addition to 11 other political rallies he's done since Labor Day, Mr. Obama has appeared at 69 Democratic fund-raising events this year, helping to generate in excess of $73.5 million dollars.

Mr. Obama admits "this is going to be a difficult election because we've been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation."

He says voters have a choice "between the politics that got us into this mess and the politics that are getting us out."

And that's the message he'll continue to deliver at the remaining events on his political schedule.

He knows it's a long-shot to keep Democrats in control of the House, but he has bet on long-shots before.

"You have the chance to defy the conventional wisdom," he tells his political crowds, "the same way that they said in 2008 that you can't elect a skinny guy with a funny name to the presidency of the United States of America."

CBSNews.com Special Report: Election 2010



Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/markknoller.
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