Nightly News   |  October 31, 2010

Obama urges voters to back embattled Dems

Stumping In the key battleground of Ohio for the second time in two weeks, President Barack Obama used the stage to make his closing argument of the 2010 campaign. NBC’s Mike Viqueira reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

LESTER HOLT, anchor: We turn to politics now. Just two short days before Election Day as Republicans try to take control of Capitol Hill . What will they need to do that? Let's start with the House . Here's the current makeup. To take control , Republicans would need to pick up 39 seats.

HOLT: Next, where the Senate currently stands. To take control from the Democrats , Republicans would need a gain of 10 seats.

HOLT: So in this final weekend, both parties took off the gloves. We begin our coverage with NBC 's Mike Viqueira at the White House . Mike , good evening.

MIKE VIQUEIRA reporting: Good evening, Lester . The president is back in Washington this evening to celebrate Halloween here at the White House , this after another big campaign weekend of stump speeches, big rallies urging Democratic Party faithful to get to the polls on Tuesday and head off what's expected to be a Republican tie. Today in Cleveland with his second in command, President Obama made his closing argument of campaign 2010 .

President BARACK OBAMA: So, Cleveland , I need you to keep on fighting, I need you to keep on believing.

VIQUEIRA: In the key battleground of Ohio , for the second time in two weeks, Mr. Obama again urged voters to back embattled Democrats in a swing state that will be key to his own political prospects in 2012 . Also in Ohio today, native son John Boehner , the man likely to become the next House speaker , working to build a wave for Republican candidates.

Representative JOHN BOEHNER (Minority Leader): We're going to have a big night on Tuesday night, a really big night , so keep it up.

VIQUEIRA: One of those candidates is Rich Iott , the Republican who wore a Nazi uniform as part of a World War II re-enactment. This weekend Boehner met with Iott and his supporters. The press was kept outside and at a distance. This as another prominent Republican had strong words for the media today.

Ms. SARAH PALIN: Those are corrupt bastards, Chris .

VIQUEIRA: Sarah Palin accused an Alaska TV station of conspiring to smear Senate candidate Joe Miller , and she alleges a press bias against conservatives nationwide.

Ms. PALIN: That's what is wrong with the media today when they have their chosen one, and nine times out of 10, heck, 10 times out of 10 in the liberal media , it's going to be the liberal is the chosen one.

VIQUEIRA: Late today the station issued a statement calling Palin 's charge "absurd." After weeks of presidential campaigning, today Democrats held out hope that all is not lost .

Mr. TIM KAINE (Democratic National Committee Chairman): I'm not going to predict. I believe that we'll hold on to both Houses , but the margins will get narrower.

VIQUEIRA: But experts are predicting big Republican gains, with a takeover of the House likely.

Governor HALEY BARBOUR (Republican, Mississippi): I think that this election will push us back toward the center, but it's because people know that the Obama-Pelosi-Reid policies have been far left.

VIQUEIRA: And, Lester , the president may be finished campaigning, but first lady Michelle Obama has not. She'll be traveling all the way back out to Nevada tomorrow, a last minute push to try to get endangered Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid over the finish line in his race against Republican Sharron