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Obama ends election campaign blitz

Barack Obama has ended his last-minute campaign blitz through four states and returned to the White House to wait out Tuesday's mid-term congressional election results.

The election, which is in effect a referendum on the US president's policies, is widely expected to strip his Democrats of their majority in the House of Representatives.

Mr Obama took his message into key states where he won in the 2008 presidential contest, places where Democrats are now struggling against an enthusiastic tide of Republican voters who want to kick out the president's party because of the economy.

The Republicans and their ultra-conservative tea party allies are riding high on voter anger about near-10% unemployment, lagging economic growth and a burst property bubble that cost millions of Americans their life savings when banks foreclosed on mortgages.

But the president said he was not giving up hope that Democrats would beat the bad odds on election day, keeping the party on track to move forward with reforms he promised in his winning campaign for the White House two years ago.

He acknowledged, however, the massive challenge facing Democrats. "Don't let anybody tell you this fight isn't worth it," Mr Obama told the friendly crowd at Cleveland State University, ticking off the accomplishments of his first two years in office. "It's always been hard to bring about change."

Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, who has been leading the tea party charge but is not running for office, said voters would be sending Mr Obama and his Democrats a sobering message: "You blew it, President Obama. We gave you the two years to fulfil your promise of making sure that our economy starts roaring back to life again."

Rep John Boehner, the top Republican in the House and the likely speaker of the chamber if the Republicans gain the majority, said the only hope for pulling the country out of the economic doldrums was smaller government and lower taxes.

Mr Obama's continual reminders that the country's economic troubles began under former president George Bush has done little to beat back the Republican charge. Democrats are widely expected to lose at least 40 seats and their majority in the House, where all 435 seats are on the ballot.

Also at stake are 37 places in the 100-seat US Senate and governorships in 37 states. Republicans are expected to considerably shrink the Democrats' edge in the Senate, but fall short of the 10 seats they need to regain the majority they lost four years ago. Republicans were likewise expected to pick up several governors' seats.

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From Belfast Telegraph