Remobilise the core voters who elected him as president: a simple but uphill task faces Barack Obama as he travels the country. The Democrats are in serious danger of losing next month’s congressional elections.
In Seattle on the west coast, the president addressed a small group of women in the backyard of a family home.
Women are said to have been more affected by the crisis than men, and women are more likely to vote Democrat.
“Our economy works only when everybody is participating,” said Obama. “That means that things like equal pay for equal work aren’t just women’s issues. Those are middle class family issues because how well women do determine how well our families are doing as a whole.”
The president has been trying not just to shake off his own poor approval ratings, but also to boost the chances of his key senators. In Washington state he addressed a large rally for senator Patty Murray. Polls suggest her re-election is on a knife-edge.
“I need you to knock on doors and make phone calls, talk to your friends and talk to your neighbours. And if you do that, I promise you, not only will we win the election, but we will restore the dream for the next generation,” the president told enthusiastic Democratic supporters.
The west coast is crucial: Republican victories in Washington and California could see the Democrats lose their Senate majority.
They are already widely predicted to do so in the House of Representatives. With 435 seats up for grabs, the Democrats’ current majority is under serious threat. They hold 256 seats, the Republicans have 179. The Democrats need to win 218 seats in order to keep their majority. With just two weeks to go, that is looking unlikely.
In the Senate, the elections concern only 37 seats out of a hundred. Yet they could be enough to upset the current Democratic majority. At the moment there are 57 Democratic senators plus 2 independents, with 41 Republicans in opposition.
The election will also see governors compete for office in 37 states from a total of 50. The outcome could also have a key bearing towards the end of President Obama’s mandate.
The Democrats risk losing around ten governors, according to the polls. The White House is therefore campaigning in key states such as Ohio. In 2008 Obama won them. Once again they are likely to be decisive.
Next, Barack Obama’s campaign trail takes him to California and Nevada.