Published April 26, 2010
President Obama left white, middle-age male voters in his rear-view mirror Monday in launching his first midterm election pitch, calling on "young people, African Americans, Latinos and women" to deliver for Democrats in November.
In a video to supporters, Obama urged those who helped get him elected in 2008 not to abandon Democrats in an election year that is shaping up to take a chunk out of the Democratic majority in Congress.
In the appeal, Obama says new voters who "powered our victory in 2008" need to "stay involved" in 2010.
"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African Americans, Latinos and women, who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again," he said.
"If you help us do that -- if you help us make sure that first-time voters in 2008 make their voices heard again in November -- then together we will deliver on the promise of change and hope and prosperity for generations to come," he said.
The promotion, which reaches out to constituencies that voted in large measure for Obama but typically vote in lower percentages than older and white voters, is being sponsored by the Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America, the group formed from Obama's massive e-mail support during the 2008 campaign.
Obama also tweeted his message: "Announcing #OFA and @democratsdotorg plans for the 2010 elections—and the important role that you can play. Watch: http://j.mp/blRzwT."
"There are elections in November and I'm sure the president is going to participate," Gibbs said.
While National Republican Committee Chairman Michael Steele has also said that he wants the party to reach out to minority voters, the president's appeal to minority voters comes just as immigration reform takes center stage inside Washington debate circles.
The statement also echoes Obama's warning during the health care debate -- that voters will decide in November whether they like what the administration and Democratic Congress is doing. His remarks repeat the positioning from congressional Democrats who allege Republicans are in the pocket of "big business" to the detriment of the American people.
"Despite everything we've done, our work isn't finished. Today, the health insurance companies, the Wall Street banks, and the special interests who have ruled Washington for too long are already focused on November’s congressional elections. They see these elections as a chance to put their allies back in power, and undo all that we have accomplished. So this year, I need your help once more," he said.
But National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh issued a response saying the president's "rally cry" is an attempt to sell a product independent voters don't want.
"I think the fundamental problem is that candidate Obama has turned out to be a much different person than President Obama and independent voters across the country are simply not buying what they’re trying to sell," Walsh told Fox News Radio. "That's because the politics of hope has been replaced by the policies of higher taxes, reckless spending and more government control over Americans' everyday lives."
Walsh noted that each time the president has gotten involved in an election over the past 15 months, it has not worked out well for Democrats.
"We certainly expect that he's going to go out on the campaign trail but I would point out that he sought to do the same thing in New Jersey and Virginia and most recently in Massachusetts and in all three elections the Democrats lost even with the president's last minute campaigning."
Fox News polling from last week shows that Obama has a 39 percent approval rating from independent voters with a 47 percent disapproval. A separate Gallup Poll out last week showed that self-identified party affiliation had reached its narrowest gap since 2005, when the war in Iraq under the Bush administration was growing unpopular. The poll out Friday showed 46 percent of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, while 45 percent identified as or leaned Republican.