COLUMBUS, Ohio – Heading into the homestretch of the midterm elections, President Barack Obama is targeting key Democratic constituencies as he tries to energize voters and build up Election Day turnout among his supporters.
The groups Obama is targeting mirror those that helped him win the White House: young people, African-Americans and women.
A crucial element of the president’s strategy in the two weeks before the Nov. 2 election is finding a way to get first-time voters from 2008 to head back to the polls even though Obama’s name isn’t on the ballot.
Speaking before a lively crowd of 35,000 during a Sunday night rally on the campus of Ohio State University, the president sought to recapture the enthusiasm of his presidential campaign, urging Democrats not to give up in the face of polls predicting sweeping defeats for the party in November.
“You can defy the conventional wisdom, the kind that says you can’t overcome the cynicism of our politics,” Obama said, his voice hoarse from three straight days of campaigning.
The White House said Sunday’s crowd was the largest Obama had spoken to since his inauguration.
Obama was joined in Ohio by first lady Michelle Obama, their first joint campaign appearance since the presidential election.
“When I think about the issues facing our nation right now, I think about what that means for our girls,” Michelle Obama told the crowd.
The president has been blunt in recent campaign stops, acknowledging that with 9.6 percent unemployment, the sputtering economy makes this election season difficult for Democrats.