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Political Notebook

Obama launches effort to get ’08 voters to the polls

President Obama hosted the New York Yankees yesterday. He congratulated the team on its World Series win, saying, 'It's been nine years since your last title, which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans. That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love and, let's face it, easy to hate as well.' President Obama hosted the New York Yankees yesterday. He congratulated the team on its World Series win, saying, "It's been nine years since your last title, which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans. That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love and, let's face it, easy to hate as well." (Jason Reed/ Reuters)
April 27, 2010

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WASHINGTON — Seeking to curtail expected widespread losses this fall, President Obama pleaded with supporters of his 2008 campaign yesterday to help elect Democrats as his aides intensified their focus on reenergizing his broad coalition of backers.

“I need your help once more,’’ the president said in an online video sent to millions of his supporters. “If you help us make sure that first-time voters in 2008 make their voices heard again in November, then together we will deliver on the promise of change, and hope, and prosperity for generations to come.’’

The video announcement of what Democrats are calling “Vote 2010’’ is part of a multipronged effort by the Democratic National Committee to reengage the legions of backers — including first-time voters, young people, blacks, Hispanics, and independents — who propelled Obama to victory in his groundbreaking campaign.

That may not be easy.

Congressional Democrats face a tough political environment, partly because of the economic recession and continued joblessness. Obama’s party worries about losing control of the House, and possibly the Senate. Republicans need to win 40 seats in the House and 10 in the Senate to seize control.

Since Obama won the White House, voters of all political stripes have soured on the president and his party; his job performance rate hovers around 50 percent and support for Democrats in Congress is much lower. The growth of government and spending increases have disappointed some independent voters. Parts of the Democratic base are frustrated with the pace at which the president has pushed proposals they support. And some Republicans who crossed over to vote for Obama are disillusioned.

Even some of the most senior Democratic officials don’t expect that the coalition of voters who backed Obama will turn out in droves when he’s not on the ballot. They didn’t in three recent statewide races — in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts — even though Obama himself made the same appeal and campaigned in those states on behalf of Democrats. Republicans won all three races.

Of particular concern for Democrats are people who were first-time voters in 2008; they’re among the least likely to vote again.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Timothy Kaine, as well as Obama political advisers David Plouffe and Mitch Stewart were rolling out details of the 2010 campaign strategy over the next week. The Democratic Party plans to spend at least $20 million — and probably far more — to defend its comfortable majorities in Congress. -- ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama lauds Yankees during White House visit
WASHINGTON — President Obama set aside hometown loyalties yesterday to welcome the World Series champion New York Yankees into the White House.

Obama, who frequently mentions his affinity for the Chicago White Sox, played host to Yankees’ players, coaches, and staff for the traditional White House visit. The Yankees won its Major League Baseball-record 27th World Series title last year, this time over the Philadelphia Phillies.

“It’s been nine years since your last title, which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans,’’ Obama said. “That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well.’’

The crowd in the East Room for the event was largely made up of Yankee partisans, including members of New York’s congressional delegation and Cabinet officials, who stood and applauded as the team entered the room. Among them were Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, a native New Yorker, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who attended the same Illinois high school as Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

“For the millions of Yankees fans in New York and around the world who bleed blue, nothing beats that Yankee tradition: 27 World Series titles; 48 Hall of Famers — a couple, I expect, standing behind me right now,’’ Obama said.

The president singled out several players — first baseman Mark Teixeira, catcher Jorge Posada, and shortstop Derek Jeter — for their community service work and the example they set.

Before visiting the White House, the Yankees meet with wounded members of the military at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. -- BLOOMBERG NEWS