President Obama: Trying to Build Consensus or Make Republicans "Ride in the Back?"

With less than a week before the midterm elections President Obama is in full campaign mode, supporting his fellow Democrats and plunking down political red meat at rallies across the country.

In recent stump speeches Mr. Obama has said, "We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they've got to sit in back."

It's widely expected that Republicans will make major gains in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, leaving Mr. Obama in a tough situation.

"I think the president is in some ways caught in a trap that's partially of his own making," said John Samples of the Cato Institute. "He's lost the independents, he's lost whatever conservative support he has. So the public face as we go into the election has to be one that has to get committed Democrats out to vote... so it's a run against Republicans."

However Mr. Obama also seems to be hedging his bets, appearing to extend an olive branch to Republicans in a recent interview with the National Journal, "it is going to be important for Democrats to have a proper and appropriate sense of humility about what we can accomplish in the absence of Republican cooperation... I think it's possible for us to be more deliberate, to spend more time building consensus."

Some political experts are calling the the commander in chief's rhetoric inconsistent, pointing out the difference between the "sit in back" comment versus the "building consensus" line.

President Obama also has his eye on reports of lagging enthusiasm among Latino voters and told Univision Radio, "if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we're going to punish our enemies and reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting this election, then I think it's going to be harder..."

Critics say comments like these show that Mr. Obama is trying to play both sides of the fence. Meanwhile White House aides maintain the president does want to work with Republicans, yet certain rhetoric is just part of the brusing 2010 campaign season, pointing to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky who recently declared, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Fox News' Wendell Goler contributed to this report.