GOP casting Tuesday vote as referendum on Obama - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

GOP casting Tuesday vote as referendum on Obama

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In the closing days before the crucial midterm election, President Barack Obama makes a final get-out-the-vote push for Democratic candidates as they battle to keep their majorities in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) In the closing days before the crucial midterm election, President Barack Obama makes a final get-out-the-vote push for Democratic candidates as they battle to keep their majorities in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

CHICAGO (AP) — His congressional majority in peril, President Barack Obama tried to drum up enthusiasm Sunday for two more years of Democratic control while GOP leaders buoyed by polls ahead of Tuesday's elections see voters rejecting his policies.

The president stopped by the Valois Cafeteria in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood for breakfast before shuttling to Cleveland for a final campaign rally. He told reporters he felt good about Democrats' chances, provided that voters turn out in large numbers.

"Obviously the other side is enthusiastic," Obama said as he ordered pancakes, eggs and turkey sausage, to go, in the noisy cafe. "We've got to make sure our side is too."

His appearance in Ohio with Vice President Joe Biden was the final stop in a four-state weekend effort to hold back the Republican wave that many observers are forecasting.

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, told "Fox News Sunday" that voters will send this message to the White House: "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."

Other Republicans agreed that voters appear poised to scuttle Obama's agenda by turning over control of the House, and possibly the Senate, to GOP lawmakers. Dozens of governorships and statehouses also are at stake.

"What the American people are looking at and they're saying is, 'The Obama policies aren't working. We need new policies, we need an economic-growth agenda,'" said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. "If Republicans win, that's what it will be, a repudiation of Obama's policies."

Democrats tried to play down the potential losses. They pointed to tightening races and tried to focus on campaign promises by many Republicans that they will repeal Obama's health care law and roll back other initiatives.

"This is a choice, a clear choice, not a referendum," said Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine, who appeared with Barbour on "Meet the Press" on NBC. "They have a political and partisan agenda, which they've had from Day One. We're the problem-solvers trying to get this nation going after a lost decade that they created."

Obama was using a similar theme in weekend stops in states he carried in 2008 — Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois and Ohio — and where Democrats are struggling this year.

"Chicago, it's up to you to let them know that we have not forgotten, we don't have amnesia," the president told a large outdoor crowd late Saturday near his home, referring to the economic recession that hit during George W. Bush's presidency. He said the election is a choice between the policies that caused the problems and policies that will lead the country to better times.

Obama acknowledged the difficulties Democrats face — the distinct chance of losing their comfortable majority in the House and possibly the Senate, as well as several governors' seats.

Unless Democratic voters turn out in big numbers, Obama said, all the progress made in the past two years "can be rolled back."

The DNC put an ad featuring Obama on the air this weekend that warned of record cuts in education and rollbacks in financial accountability if Republicans take control of Congress.

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele dismissed concerns of government gridlock if GOP lawmakers refuse to compromise with Democrats on issues such as increasing the debt and raising taxes on small businesses and families.

"With the Republican majority in the House or Senate or, hopefully, both, we're not going to compromise on those things. We're going to stick to try to get that business done," Steele said.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said his party expects a slimmer majority in the Senate to make passing the Obama agenda even tougher.

"You will have more Republicans, at least a few more, and fewer Democrats. If they want to stick with this filibuster strategy, obstruction and saying no, it's going to be difficult to do anything," Durbin told CNN.

In many races, large numbers of voters have made their choices. In Ohio, where Democrats could lose as many as six House seats, more than 721,000 votes had been cast. California officials already had in hand almost 2.5 million ballots, and Florida officials had almost 1.7 million.

More than 13.5 million votes had been cast early, either at ballot boxes that opened early or by mail. Four years ago, during the last nonpresidential election, some 19 million voters cast ballots before Election Day.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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