US President Barack Obama headed out on Wednesday on his longest campaign swing yet, just as a new poll shows opposition Republicans on the cusp of major gains in the November elections.
Obama is expected to visit five states in four days in an effort to drum up support for his Democratic party, which has taken a big hit as a result of the struggling economy and high unemployment. Two years ago, Obama drew 60,000 to a rally in Oregon when he was running for president. The goal for Wednesday's rally in Portland for Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber was only 5,000.
“This election is not about anger, it's not about fear. It's about a choice and the stakes couldn't be higher,” Obama said, reinforcing his campaign message about where Republican leadership would take the country. Obama charged that the Republicans would repeal the sweeping new health care changes designed to keep insurers from denying coverage to the sick, and cancel new rules to keep credit card companies from charging hidden fees.
According to an Associated Press-GfK poll of people likely to vote in the first major elections of the Obama presidency, Republicans will likely gain control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate as well. A Republican Congress would severely hamper Obama's agenda during the last two years of his term.
In the final survey before November 2 polls voters say the Republicans would do a better job than Democrats on handling the economy, creating jobs and running the government. More than half disapproved of Obama's job performance.
“We always knew that this was going to be a challenging year,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said on Tuesday. “So we're out there and we're scrapping and we're fighting and I think we're going to have some good success out there.”