President Obama Hits the Campaign Trail to Save Senate Majority

President Obama steps out of Washington and onto the 2010 campaign trail today in what looks like the start of a nine-month effort to save the Democratic majority in the Senate.

The president hits the road to lend his support to two vulnerable Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Obama's campaign push comes as his party looks increasingly on the ropes for the upcoming midterm elections.

When Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., took the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat from the Democrats last month and broke the Democrats' supermajority in the Senate, Republican officials crowed that it was a repudiation of the agenda of Obama and his party.

This week, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., announced he would not seek re-election, lamenting the hyper-partisanship that has prevented progress Washington.

Bayh is the fifth Democratic senator to announce his retirement. His departure means there are nine, possibly 10 Democratic Senate seats at risk in November and ushers in the possibility that Republicans could win control of the Senate.

Obama was able to redraw the electoral map in 2008, winning states that Democrats had not won in decades. But with his approval ratings hovering around 50 percent, there are questions about how and where Obama can be effective this year.

The president is on a multi-state campaign losing streak right now. He stumped for Democratic candidates in gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey and for Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election in Massachusetts -- and all three lost.

Yet party officials say the midterms are a different story and that Obama will be active on the campaign trail this year and aggressively working for Democratic candidates where and when he can be helpful.

Obama is in Denver tonight for two fundraisers for Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who is facing a primary challenge from former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

One of the president's events with Bennet is a low-dollar, large audience event that an administration official said is "clearly a demonstration of the president's ability for widespread appeal," and, "an effort to help Democrats to implement the model that the president demonstrated with success during his own campaign."

An administration official noted that the Bennet event has been on the president's schedule for some time and cautioned against reading into it as a "reactionary" trip because of recent political events or the state of the race in Colorado.

Obama then travels to Las Vegas to raise some cash for the Democratic National Committee and appear with Reid, who is trailing in recent polls against the Republicans vying to replace him and saddled with low personal approval ratings.

Democrats hope that by linking candidates, especially vulnerable ones, to Obama, they can link them to legislative progress.

"President Obama, Harry Reid and Michael Bennet are working day in and day out to address the economic challenges facing Americans, and that has not been lost on voters," said Deirdre Murphy, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Murphy said Obama's appearances in Colorado and Nevada "put a spotlight on the choice voters will face come November: Do we want to go back to the economic policies that got us into this fiscal mess or do we want steady economic progress?"

Obama's stops in Colorado and Nevada are drawing fire from Republicans.

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