Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Obama bolsters flagging US campaign

President Barack Obama speaks during a rally in Washington

US president Barack Obama has hit the campaign trail as a new poll shows opposition Republicans on the cusp of major gains in the November congressional elections.

Mr 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, Mr Obama drew 60,000 to a rally in Oregon when he was running for president, with another 15,000 left outside.

The goal for Wednesday's rally in Portland for Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber was only 5,000 people.

The president said: "This election is not about anger, it's not about fear. It's about a choice and the stakes couldn't be higher," reinforcing his campaign message about where Republican leadership would take the country.

Mr 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 slapping people with 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 Mr Obama's agenda during the last two years of his term and it would certainly shape his likely re-election campaign in 2012.

In the final survey before November 2, Election Day, likely voters say the Republicans would do a better job than Democrats on handling the economy, creating jobs and running the government.

Most also think the United States is headed in the wrong direction. More than half disapprove of Mr Obama's job performance. And even more do not like the Democratic-controlled Congress.

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