Obama tries to fire up supporters for midterm vote

AP News
Posted: Oct 12, 2010 8:22 PM
Obama tries to fire up supporters for midterm vote

Summoning his supporters, President Barack Obama on Tuesday predicted Democratic wins across the nation on Nov. 2 if his backers get energized and "hope overcomes fear" once again.

Fielding friendly questions at a political event sponsored by his own party, Obama dabbled with new technology, taking queries from people using the Skype telephone and video service and the Twitter social media network. Yet he broke no ground with his message: Those who voted for him in 2008 must support like-minded candidates in the midterm elections and rally others, or the agenda they want will be in peril.

"The only way this is going to work is if hope defeats fear," Obama said at George Washington University.

To supporters seated around him and those watching live online, he said if they muster their energy, "I'm absolutely confident that we will do well in this election. We will win all across the country."

Obama is spending ever more time campaigning as the election gets close. Given the sour economic mood of the nation, Democrats, as the party in power, are in danger of losing a significant number of seats in the House and Senate. Obama's challenge is to get voters revved up even without his name on the ballot.

The event looked like a town hall but was essentially a rally for Obama in the form of a quiet discussion. It was put together by the Democratic National Committee, and the room was filled by supporters of Organizing for America, Obama's political organization, which is based at the DNC.

The Democratic National Committee chose which questions submitted through online sites were asked of Obama. The DNC said that it did so to integrate them into the technology of the event and that the questions picked were representative of the ones people asked.

When one woman asked via Twitter about the impatience of some Obama supporters _ and that he never promised to fix everything in his first 21 months _ even Obama acknowledged: "That's sort of a softball."

Asked via Skype how volunteers can motivate people to vote, Obama urged supporters to tailor their message to individual voters. Talk about reductions in student loan costs when talking with college students, he said, and pitch lower prescription drug costs when talking to senior citizens. "You want to speak to people in terms of what they're going through right now in their lives," he said.

The president also warned anew about the flow of private money to groups that have put out attack ads against candidates without disclosing their donors. He called it a threat to democracy but said people can overcome such tactics by making sure that fellow voters know about the electoral choice ahead.


Associated Press writers Nancy Benac and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.