News / USA

Republicans, Democrats Vie for Control of Congress in Tuesday's Midterm Elections

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, talks to supporters during a campaign stop Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010, in Tampa, Fla.
Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, talks to supporters during a campaign stop Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010, in Tampa, Fla.
William Ide

Republican and Democratic politicians made bold predictions on Sunday and sounded upbeat ahead of Tuesday's midterm congressional and gubernatorial elections.  

U.S. President Barack Obama tried to rally fellow Democrats in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday.  The president urged supporters not to become discouraged despite persistent high unemployment and a sluggish economy.

Mr. Obama pledged that despite these challenges, progress will come. "I know some of the excitement of election night [two years ago and then] inaugauration day starts to fade.  You know Beyonce was singing and Bono was up there," he said. "I know people start saying, 'Aw that was fun, now it seems like work all the time.'  And then you guys see me on TV, 'Boy, he's getting really gray, you see that, he's starting to look old.'"

The president told supporters that despite what his critics say, the Democtats are making a difference. "But look Cleveland, I want you to remember this - don't let any body tell you this fight isn't worth it," he said.

Mr. Obama went to Cleveland to help bolster support for Democratic candidates.  It was the last stop of a four-state campaign tour through states where Democrats are in danger of losing to Republicans.

There is near universal agreement among political experts and public opinion surveys that Republicans are poised to win back majority control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.  In the Senate, Republicans are expected to at least weaken the Democratic majority.

Sarah Palin, who was the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, told the "Fox News Sunday" television program that voters were going to send President Obama a strong message on Election Day. "I think it is going to be a political earthquake and the message will have been sent to the left that they blew it and Americans are waking up and they are saying smaller, smarter government is the only way that the country can get back on the right track," she said.

Palin and other Republican leaders say Tuesday's vote is a referendum on President Obama's policies  and what they say is his inability to revive the U.S. economy.

Speaking Sunday on NBC television's "Meet the Press" program, Tim Kaine, the head of the Democratic National Comittee, called Tuesday's vote a choice between two ways of solving problems. "I think this is a clear choice, not a referendum.  It is a choice between a Democratic Party that is doing heavy lifting to turn a shrinking economy that the Republicans left us into a growing economy," he said.

Kaine said Democrats can expect some loses on Tuesday, but not enough to loose majority control of either the House or the Senate.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election.  More than 50 seats now held by Democrats are at risk of changing political hands.  Some experts predict that the Republicans might win as many as 55 seats in the House.  They need only 39 seats to take back majority control.

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