Michelle Obama hits the campaign trail for Harry Reid

LAS VEGAS, November 2, 2010 (AFP) – US First Lady Michelle Obama hit the campaign trail in Las Vegas Monday to back her husband’s key ally Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader battling to avoid humiliating defeat in Tuesday’s mid-term elections.

Obama, by many measures the most popular Democrat in Washington, pleaded that defeating Reid would harm the administration’s ability to “restore that dream” of an America where minorities are empowered, the poor receive health care and the powerful are held accountable.

“No child’s future should be limited because of the neighborhood they were born in,” said Obama, appearing at a high school in a working-class suburb about 15 miles north of the Las Vegas Strip.

“We believe that if you get sick in America, you should be able to see a doctor. We believe that if you work hard, you should make a decent wage and have a secure retirement.

“We believe that if you fulfill your responsibilities every day you should be able to provide for your family, just like our folks did.”

Reid trails Republican candidate Sharron Angle, a staunch Tea Party leader, by four points in the final poll taken of the race by the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week.

His approval ratings have been below 40 percent for several years and he has struggled to impress the public with his record at time when his state has the worst unemployment and home foreclosure rates in the United States.

The Reid campaign did see some hope, despite the polls, in the voter turnout so far. Nevadans were able to vote “early” between Oct 16-29, and by mail, and about 60 percent of those expected to vote in this election did so.

As of Monday, more than 7,000 more Democrats than Republicans had voted out of more than 421,000 voters.

Yet there’s no telling for whom those voters cast their ballots, and polls predicted that Angle would receive an overwhelming share of ballots from the 15 percent of voters who are not affiliated with either party.

Also, more Democrats may have already voted, but they are not doing so in the numbers they did when Nevada went to Obama in 2008.

With that backdrop, Michelle Obama’s appearance with Reid was seen as important to excite party members to vote on Tuesday or help others get to the polls.

“Can we do this? Yes, we can. Yes, we must,” Obama shouted.

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