UPDATE 1-Obama dazzles Democratic crowds but is it enough?

* Obama warns against repeal of financial, health reform

* Crowds in Minneapolis, other cities recall 2008 campaign

* Democrats face grim prospects in House, may keep Senate
(Adds Pelosi, more details)

By Caren Bohan

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct 23 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama,
dashing through the U.S. West to campaign for endangered
Democrats, proved he still has plenty of star power but it’s
far from clear that’s enough to rescue his party from an
election disaster.

Wrapping up a jam-packed trip with 10 days to go before the
Nov. 2 congressional elections, Obama revved up a crowd of more
than 11,000 in Minneapolis on Saturday by touting his
achievements of healthcare and financial reform legislation.

He warned that if the election results in a return to power
for Republicans in the U.S. Congress, they will try to repeal
those landmark laws.

“We just had the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and
one of their first orders of business would be to eliminate
protections for consumers, eliminate protections for taxpayers,
go back to a system that resulted in us having to save the
entire economy and take these drastic measures,” Obama said.

“Why would we do that?” he said. “Why would we go back to
the healthcare policies that they believe in where insurance
companies can drop your insurance when you get sick.”


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Obama’s closing campaign message depicts Democrats as
fighters for the middle class and Republicans as defenders of
special interests like health insurers and credit card

But Republicans have gained traction by criticizing Obama’s
healthcare law, the $814 billion stimulus and other Democratic
policies as examples of a “big-government” approach.

Obama’s response, which he repeated throughout his
five-state campaign tour, was to acknowledge that “government
can’t solve every problem” but also to highlight its role in
supporting education and initiatives like clean energy.

The crowd who came to hear Obama speak at the University of
Minnesota chanted his “Yes, we can slogan” and laughed along
with his depiction of Republicans as the politicians who drove
the country into a ditch — a standard metaphor in his campaign

It was one in a succession of big crowds Obama has drawn as
he rallied supporters in Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Los Angeles
and Las Vegas.

His biggest rally on the trip, at the University of
Southern California on Friday, attracted 37,500 people.

The ability to draw huge crowds was a signature of Obama’s
2008 presidential campaign and a reprise of those kinds of
events appeared to energize him, despite the cold he was
fighting at the beginning of the trip.


Obama also headlined a series of fundraisers for his party,
raking in millions to help pay for candidate advertising and
managed to squeeze in a visit to the studio of popular Latino
radio personality Piolin, part of an effort to target his
message toward key Democratic constituencies.

The Minnesota visit was aimed at helping Democrat Mark
Dayton in his gubernatorial bid. Dayton, a former senator,
leads his opponent, Tom Emmer, by six percentage points.

But many of the other candidates he campaigned for appear
to be facing tougher races. Among those is Senate Majority
leader Harry Reid, who has been neck and neck for weeks with
his opponent, Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle.

Also likely to go down to the wire are the Senate contests
in Washington state, where incumbent Democrat Patty Murray is
trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Dino Rossi, and
California, where incumbent Barbara Boxer is vying with former
Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina.

Democrats are likely to see their majority weakened in the
U.S. Senate though many pollsters say a Republican takeover of
the chamber is unlikely. Still, Democrats hope Obama’s visit
will help draw a firewall around some of the key seats.

Democrats’ prospects in the House of Representatives appear
much more grim. Republicans need to pick up 39 Democratic seats
to claim a 218-vote House majority. The latest polls suggest
that threshold is well within their reach.

Election analyst Charlie Cook, for example, wrote this week
that the Nov. 2 vote could mirror the 1994 election when
Republicans picked up 52 seats in the House. Forecaster Larry
Sabato projected the Republicans would gain 47 seats.

Following the University of Minnesota rally, Obama
headlined a Minnesota fundraiser where he was introduced by
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, who would have to give up the powerful job of
speaker if Republicans were to take the House, said Democrats
“fully intend” to keep control of the chamber.
(Editing by Philip Barbara and Eric Beech)

UPDATE 1-Obama dazzles Democratic crowds but is it enough?