'Defy the Conventional Wisdom,' Obama Urges Democrats

Campaigns Final Stretch

President Obama closed out his heavy campaign schedule with a spirited rally today in the basketball gym at Cleveland State University, begging Democratic voters to turn out to save incumbents, including Ohio Gov. Tom Strickland.

"You can defy the conventional wisdom," he shouted to a crowd estimated at 8,000.

The 11th-hour polls remain daunting for Democrats in the battleground states, including Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where the president concentrated his efforts in the final weekend.

"Don't let anyone tell you your vote doesn't make a difference," Obama told the crowd at Cleveland State.

Ohio is also home to John Boehner, the Republican leader of the House who would become speaker and second in the line of succession to the presidency if Republicans win control of the House, as many experts predict.

The Democratic National Committee has focused it get-out-the-vote effort on several key states: Of the nearly $2.7 million given to state parties, $950,000 went to Illinois, $470,000 to Florida, $325,000 to Pennsylvania and $300,000 to Ohio.

The White House has announced no formal schedule for the president in the final 36 hours before the polls open Tuesday.

There is no word on whether he will invite Republican congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday or Thursday to discuss a future agenda.

Obama departs Friday for the longest foreign trip of his presidency to India, Indonesia, and economic summits in South Korea and Japan.

When he returns, Congress, including members who may have lost their reelection campaigns, goes into a lame-duck session to deal with significant tax-and-spending votes expected before the end of the year.

"In two days, you've got the chance to once again, say what?" Obama prompted the crowd.

And they answered on cue: "Yes, we can."

Despite being unable to move the unemployment numbers, the president has been trying to move Democrats to vote.

In Chicago Saturday night, 30,000 people gathered for a homecoming from the city's native son at Grant Park, the same park where Obama spoke two years ago when he won the presidential election. Now, he is trying to re-ignite the passion that carried him to the White House.

GOP Has Problems, Too

"If everybody who fought for change in 2008 shows up in 2010, we will win this election," he told that crowd.

But the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll shows Democrats still trailing overall, and Obama acknowledged the challenge this morning.

"So we've seen a lot of enthusiasm, but it's going to be tight," he said this morning at a Chicago diner. "These are close races. It's true here, its true in Ohio, its true in every state where we're competing."

But experts believe that not only will Republicans gain the 39 seats they need to take control of the House, they may wind up winning many more, perhaps as many as 50 or 60 more.

Republicans, riding what they see as a wave of anger with Obama and the Democrats, say the message from voters will be clear.

"They're going to say, "You blew it, President Obama. We gave you the two years to fulfill your promise of making sure that our economy starts roaring back to life again,'" Sarah Palin said at a rally Saturday.

Palin and the big backers of the Tea Party movement appear poised to place at least some of their candidates in Congress.

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