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Democrats Struggle to Get Key Voters to Polls

Democratic call center volunteers are working hard to make sure more Democrats show up to vote in the 2010 midterm elections
Democratic call center volunteers are working hard to make sure more Democrats show up to vote in the 2010 midterm elections

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Laurel Bowman

U.S. President Barack Obama's name is not on the ballot in next week's midterm elections.  But his Democratic Party's control of Congress is at stake, as are the governorships of several states. If the Democrats do not win, Mr. Obama could find himself in the minority with two years to go before he runs for re-election.  

Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown normally spends his days working on healthcare policy or education reform.  But since August, Brown has frequented subway stops, where he hands out Democratic Party literature and urges people to get ready to vote in November midterm elections.

"This is an important election, because while President Obama is not on the ballot, it is important that President Obama has partners in state government so we can move his agenda forward," said Brown.

President Barack Obama does not stand for re-election until 2012.  But much of his agenda is now vulnerable, with Republicans poised to retake the House and make gains in the Senate and in gubernatorial races across the country.

Campaigning for Democrats in California last week, Mr. Obama enlisted rock stars and other celebrities to fire up his base.

JAMIE FOXX (ACTOR): "They are counting on us to lose our enthusiasm.  We cannot lose our enthusiasm… We're not exhausted, we're not exhausted…"

Ed Webber, a registered Democrat, voted for President Obama in 2008. He expressed some of the anger some Democrats feel right now.

"I thought this guy was somebody finally who was going to make changes," said Webber.  "None of the things he said he would do he has done."

That's not necessary so. National health care legislation is now the law of the land. And many economists credit Mr. Obama with saving the nation from an even worse recession.

"I think a lot of people out there who expected a wave of a wand and that change would be produced, but it's hard for all of us to appreciate and understand how difficult it is to make that kind of change," said Susan Miller who runs a call center in Maryland where volunteers are trying to get registered Democrats to show up at the polls.

Callers at her center aren't talking to voters about issues.  They are just asking them, even begging them, to vote.  

"There's not a president [on the ballot]," noted call center volunteer Ronit Davis.  "[Voters] don't necessarily look at what the House and Senate are going to do, obviously House and Senate will determine what kind of energy bill, environmental bill, jobs bills…   It's an equal branch of the government."

Across town, Norma Korland has voted early.  She says she stuck with the Democrats.

"You can tell by my gray hair that I have lived long enough to know some things just cannot be done quickly. It is just not possible," said Korland.

But with just days to go before these sweeping midterm elections, quickly is the operative word.

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