Midterm Results To Chart Course Of Obama's Term For the past two years, the president has had strong Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. He has used those majorities to push sweeping legislation through Congress against the almost unanimous opposition of Republicans. After Tuesday, those Congressional majorities will almost certainly shrink -- and may disappear altogether. He's making one last push to hold on.
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Midterm Results To Chart Course Of Obama's Term

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Midterm Results To Chart Course Of Obama's Term

Midterm Results To Chart Course Of Obama's Term

Midterm Results To Chart Course Of Obama's Term

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For the past two years, the president has had strong Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. He has used those majorities to push sweeping legislation through Congress against the almost unanimous opposition of Republicans. After Tuesday, those Congressional majorities will almost certainly shrink — and may disappear altogether. He's making one last push to hold on.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Political analysts settled into their predictions over the weekend. Many see Republicans with an excellent chance to take the House.

MONTAGNE: They say Democrats may be able to hold a reduced majority in the Senate, but we don't really know until after everyone finishes voting.

INSKEEP: Two numbers in a Washington Post survey suggest the range of possibilities. The survey actually shows Democrats with a lead among all voters.

MONTAGNE: But among those likely to show up, Republicans hold an edge, as they have for months. Republican enthusiasm could make John Boehner the next speaker of the House, and we'll hear from his campaign in a moment.

INSKEEP: Here's NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro.

ARI SHAPIRO: This weekend was President Obama's last push to hold on. The campaign went from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

BARACK OBAMA: So I want everybody to get out there, knock on doors, make phone calls, volunteer.

SHAPIRO: ...to Bridgeport, Connecticut...

OBAMA: If you're going to the barbershops and the beauty shops, talking to your friends and talking to your neighbors...

SHAPIRO: ...to Chicago, Illinois...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

OBAMA: I need you to get out and vote in this election...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

OBAMA: ...because if you do, if you're willing to step up, if you're willing to try...

SHAPIRO: ...and finally, to Cleveland, Ohio.

OBAMA: ...we will restore our economy. We will rebuild our middle class, and we will reclaim the American dream for future generations. God bless you.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

OBAMA: And God bless the United States of America.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

SHAPIRO: Presidential advisor David Axelrod spoke with reporters about the outlook for the House as the Chicago rally was wrapping up.

DAVID AXELROD: You know, it's obviously very competitive. We knew that going in. We won 55 seats in the last couple years. I think 49 were in districts that Senator McCain carried in the presidential election. We - so we're playing on difficult turf in a midterm election. We knew of all those factors going in, so it's not a huge surprise that we're fighting hard there.

SHAPIRO: Illinois Senator Richard Durbin is currently the second-most powerful Senate Democrat. Before the Chicago rally, he told me if the election had been a month ago, there's no way Democrats would have kept Mr. Obama's old seat.

RICHARD DURBIN: If this election had happened October 2nd, there would've been a different outcome. But I think we have caught our stride and we have a terrific Get Out the Vote effort going on here and across the country. And I think it can be a big difference.

SHAPIRO: Can I just ask, personally, how it feels to be fighting so hard to hold onto this seat that President Obama held when he was a senator?

DURBIN: I never take any election for granted. I lost three elections before I ever won one. I don't assume a thing. The voters have the last word. And if you get - you have to get up, roll up your sleeves and go to work, that's what it's all about.

SHAPIRO: At Cleveland State University yesterday, he gave a crowd of 8,000 supporters a partisan version of his unity, hope and change message from two years ago.

OBAMA: We're not seeing that from the other party. I guess there feeling cocky, maybe.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: The Republican leader of the House says: "This is not a time for compromise." That's a quote. The Republican leader in the Senate said his main goal for the next two years - his top priority is to win the next election and to beat me.

SHAPIRO: Ari Shapiro, NPR News, travelling with the president.

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