Rhetoric heats up in homestretch

Partisans fire up troops for trench warfare

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell speaks to a Tea Party Express rally Sunday in Wilmington, Del. (Associated Press)Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell speaks to a Tea Party Express rally Sunday in Wilmington, Del. (Associated Press)
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President Obama desperately sought to reignite the coalition that pushed him to power in 2008, while Sarah Palin blamed “corrupt bastards” for trying to hinder Senate candidate Joe Miller of Alaska, and in North Carolina, a federal judge ordered steps to prevent voting-machine problems.

As the 2010 election circus careened toward its inevitable Tuesday conclusion, the rhetoric sharpened this weekend, the accusations grew more incendiary and the pundits and pollsters said some of the results — such as Republicans capturing the House, but not the Senate — are now all but inevitable.

“It’s going to be a political earthquake, and the message will have been sent to the left that they blew it,” Mrs. Palin, the former Republican governor of Alaska who has been part of this year’s anti-Washington insurgency, told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.

But she also blamed the mainstream media for taking sides in the elections, accusing reporters from a CBS affiliate in Alaska of trying to find a child molester or capture a “Rand Paul moment” at a rally Mrs. Palin held with Mr. Miller last week. Mr. Paul’s campaign was rocked last week by video of a supporter stomping on a heckler’s head.

“Those are corrupt bastards, Chris,” Mrs. Palin said.

BACK AGAIN: As Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (right) looks on, President Obama addresses a Sunday rally at Cleveland State University. Mr. Obama has been to the swing state of Ohio on behalf of the Democratic nominees for governor and Senate a dozen times. (Associated Press)

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BACK AGAIN: As Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (right) looks on, ... more >

Mr. Miller has stumbled badly in polls, and incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is running a write-in campaign that could either let her keep the seat or tip it to Democrat Scott McAdams.

“We believe that Scott McAdams actually has a real chance of winning this race,” Sen. Robert C. Menendez of New Jersey, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman, said Sunday.

Prognosticators say the Republicans are poised to take at least the 39 seats needed to win the House, with some pundits saying the Republican swing could top 60 seats.

But the Senate, where Republicans earlier seemed to have a good chance of winning the 10 seats to take control, has slipped away from the GOP, held back by troubled nominees such as Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and by Democrats rallying in the core blue states of California and Washington.

The Cook Political Report said the odds of Republicans winning control of the Senate “are now non-existent.”

Mr. Obama spent the weekend visiting the blue states of Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Illinois, with a final stop in the critical swing state of Ohio. At each stop, he pleaded for his coalition of liberal Democrats, independents and disaffected Republicans to reject the GOP and give him the troops in Congress he needs to pursue his agenda further.

“When we won two years ago, that was just the start. That wasn’t about electing a president. That was about building a movement to change the country for the better,” Mr. Obama said at a rally in Bridgeport, Conn., on Saturday.

But as has happened several other times recently, Mr. Obama found himself being heckled by erstwhile supporters — this time over global AIDS funding.

On Sunday, Mr. Obama held his last rally, at Cleveland State University, in a bid to help Ohio Democrats keep control of the governorship and a Senate seat. He said the Tuesday elections pitted against one another “the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out of this mess.”

That unrest among what should be his most loyal supporters has Democrats worried about low turnout, which could doom some of his party’s lawmakers in tight races.

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