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“I am pleading with you,” he told the UCLA crowd. “Any college student in the state of California that doesn’t vote in this election is committing malpractice on your own future.”

He likens the “tea party” and its supporters to 19th-century politicians. “Some of these positions people haven’t held for 110 years,” Mr. Clinton said in Denver.

In Maryland, stumping for incumbent Gov. Martin O’Malley, he asked, “Why in the world would anybody think about making a change?”

Democrats from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters are counting on Mr. Clinton to keep them from drowning on Nov. 2.

“When people see Bill Clinton,” said Duke University political scientist David Rohde, “they think of better days.”