President Obama Calls on Young Voters; Turnout at Polls Expected to be Robust

Obama's old Senate seat leaning to GOP, but Tea Party losing steam in Alaska.

November 1, 2010, 7:41 AM

Nov. 2, 2010— -- In a final attempt to call on the young voters that put him in the White House, President Obama went on the radio today to remind them "you can't shape your future if you don't participate."

The president's radio interview today on Ryan Seacrest's show -- taped yesterday -- proved Democrats weren't going down without a fight, even though they are expected to lose the congressional majority at the polls today.

"This is such a critical election, because we're living in a huge moment of change in this country," Obama told Seacrest." I am optimistic about this country because of young people. Because of their energy, because of their enthusiasm because of their ideas. But you know none of that will make a difference if they're not participating."

Obama's message also popped up for AOL users in a taped video message that greeted visitors this morning.

Voter turnout was reported to be higher than usual in all corners of the country. The Las Vegas Review-Journal quoted Nevada's secretary of state as predicting turnout between 60 and 65 percent statewide and the Oregon secretary of state said turnout there could be as high as 72 percent, local media reported.

Democrats are hoping their eleventh-hour push will lessen the blow of what is widely expected to be a changing of the guard in Washington.

Marathon campaigner former President Bill Clinton stumped late into the night Monday, finishing in Florida after hitting five states in 24 hours.

"I think Florida is for everyone," he said in a state where Tea Party candidate Marco Rubio is leading former Gov. Charlie Crist in the race for U.S. Senate.

First Lady Michelle Obama hit up Las Vegas Monday before criss-crossing the country to Philadelphia to push for struggling Senate candidate Joe Sestak.

"Can we do this?" she bellowed to enthusiastic cheers.

Meanwhile, President Obama was forced to backtrack Monday after House Republican leader John Boehner blasted him for telling Latino voters they should punish their "enemies" for pushing immigration reform.

"Mr. President, that word isn't enemies," Boehner said, "they're patriots."

In a radio interview Monday, Obama conceded, "I probably should have used the word 'opponents' instead of enemies."

While Democrats campaign at a frenetic pace, Republican and Tea Party candidates remain confident that voters who pulled levers so enthusiastically for Obama two years ago will cast their vote for conservative candidates.

On Facebook, Sarah Palin declared today "our freedom day."

"Our revolution continues each election at the ballot box and tomorrow we will renew the spirit of the American Revolution once again," she wrote. "Let freedom ring!"

But the tide may be turning in Palin's home state of Alaska. Considered for weeks to be a lock for Republicans, Tea Party candidate Joe Miller appears to be losing steam and Republican Lisa Murkowski is a write-in candidate.

President Clinton has volunteered his help there in the last day or so, recording robo-calls for Democratic candidate Scott Adams.

The GOP needs to pick up 39 seats to regain a House majority and 10 to take power in the Senate. There are 435 seats at stake in the House and 37 in the Senate.

At least 108 House seats are vulnerable, including 68 seats that either lean Republican or are toss-ups, according to ABC News' race ratings. Republicans are poised to win at least four additional Senate seats, per ABC estimates.

The latest Gallup poll showed Republicans with a 15-point advantage on the generic ballot.

President Obama Expected to Make Pitch Wednesday for Cooperation From New Congress

Obama is expected Wednesday morning to follow the lead of presidents before him who have had to swallow midterm backlash.

Former President George W. Bush told Americans in 2006 that "the people expect us to work together." And nearly 20 years ago, President Ronald Reagan vowed bi-partisan politics to strengthen the nation's weakened economy.

Former Obama advisor Anita Dunn said the nation should be prepared for a similar message.

"He will stretch out his hand to work with both parties as he did after his inauguration," she told "Good Morning America."

Voters, she said, are "sending a message to a Congress who they say hasn't looked after their interests as middle-class families."

But Republicans, she cautioned, are going to need an "attitude change" as well and not use their new seats to stubbornly stonewall the president.

Former Bush advisor Nicole Wallace said Obama needs to be telling the American people "I hear you."

"There's not a lot of times in American history when they have a single urgent need from their president," Wallace said, pointing to a still flailing economy and weak job market. "And they feel like he hasn't delivered."

Democrats are expected to lose seats in Arkansas and Wisconsin. But they are holding their breath in Chicago where Republican Mark Kirk has a slight lead over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in the race for Obama's old Senate seat.

A loss in this historically blue-tinged district would be a huge embarrassment to the party. Obama has already made three campaign stops in Chicago, including a rally over the weekend.

Also nail-biting close is the battle in Nevada, where longtime Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is locked in a seemingly near-tie with Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle.

Republicans Preparing to Move Away From Obama's Unpopular Agenda

Republicans have assailed Obama's major agenda items, including the $787 billion stimulus and the health care law. In an election year dominated by high unemployment and a weak economy, Democrats have put up little fight against assaults on health care and stimulus, with many candidates separating themselves from their party's agenda.

"I think it's time to move in a different direction. I think the Republican leadership has shown it's ready to listen to the people," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said on "Good Morning America" Monday in his first joint appearance with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine since May 24.

But the work isn't done, even if Republicans take control, Steele said, adding that if the party doesn't live up to Americans' expectations, they may be facing a similar fate as Democrats in two years.

He agreed with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who told the New York Times that "the looming victories for Republican candidates next Tuesday is not a validation of the Republican Party at all."

"I think there's some degree of truth to that," Steele said. "There's a serious concern that the people have, more broadly speaking, about both parties in the direction they lead."

"The Republican party has spent the last 18 months listening to the American people," he added. "We're hoping now for a fresh start with the American people."

President Obama, who spent all weekend in a multi-state campaign swing to help boost fledgling Democratic candidates, knows Democrats will have to make adjustments in their agenda going forward, Kaine said on "GMA."

"The president is upbeat about the rallies and how they've gone and the energy," Kaine said. "He has a good sense of perspective about the challenge of the midterm elections and about the need to make corrections. You'll see those play out over the course of the new few weeks."

An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that nearly six in 10 registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. But GOP Minority Leader John Boehner, whose name has been circulating as potential Speaker should Republicans regain control of the House, is also more disliked than liked by a 35-to-21 percent margin.

But Kaine also admonished Democrats who have separated themselves from the party's agenda.

"Democrats need to be proud of the president, proud of their accomplishments and proud of the party," he said. "I think Democrats need to do that a little bit more."

ABC News' Jake Tapper, Jonathan Karl, Neal Karlinsky and Chris Bury contributed to this report.

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