The Morning Line: Obama Works the Youth Vote

BY David Chalian and Terence Burlij  October 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM EST

The Morning Line When President Obama takes to the Internet Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET to conduct a town hall from George Washington University, it will be the first of two events on his schedule this week primarily focused on reconnecting with and re-energizing young people in hopes of motivating them to vote in this year’s midterm elections. Through Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, President Obama will conduct a dialogue with many young Americans who first became active in politics two years ago through his presidential campaign. The Democratic National Committee is organizing watch parties across the country in hopes of rekindling that 2008 flame.

You can catch the town hall here: www.barackobama.com/live

Later in the week, President Obama is scheduled to appear on a MTV sponsored town hall.

You don’t have to look far to determine why the president’s schedule is full of these kinds of sessions this week.

From Bloomberg News: “More than 4 of 10 likely voters (42%) who say they once considered themselves Obama backers now are either less supportive or say they no longer support him at all, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.”

Midterm electorates tend to be older and whiter than the electorate in presidential years. If Democrats have any hopes of hanging on to their majority in the House, changing the make up of the electorate by making it younger and with more African American and Latino participation appears to be the majority party’s only path to success.

Vice President Biden is also out on the trail stoking the base today in Des Moines, Iowa, for Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, and in Chicago for Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill.

BLUEGRASS BRAWL

Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway squared off in an hour-long debate Monday that saw the U.S. Senate candidates from Kentucky hammer each other on issues such as entitlement programs, tax cuts and the role of government.

Paul, who has proposed having wealthier people pay more for Medicare as well as raising the eligibility age for future Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries, called on Conway to take a stand on the issues.

“Step up and be a man. Take a chance. Say you’re for something,” said Paul.

Conway responded by going after comments Paul made last year suggesting one way to solve Medicare would be to charge a $2,000 deductible. “I’m sick and tired of you putting forward something so callous and acting like it’s courageous,” said Conway, who added he would “never balance the budget on the backs of seniors.”

Paul returned to the idea of having the wealthy pay more for Medicare, saying, “maybe people who own a racehorse or people who have millions of dollars” would face higher costs. Conway, who is wealthy and owns a horse, said Paul’s answer showed he was either for “means testing” or “one heck of an increase in the Medicare tax.”

As has been the case throughout the campaign, Conway tried to convince voters that he would be strongest on issues that matter to Kentuckians, such as the state’s drug problem, or the future of the airport located in Northern Kentucky just outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Louisville Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth reports that Paul, meanwhile, kept up his strategy of tying Conway to President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

He’s noted that Conway supports the health care overhaul legislation, dubbed Obamacare, and has accused Conway of supporting “cap and trade” energy legislation, which Conway denies.

Those all were themes repeated again and again during the debate.

Paul mentioned Obama’s name no less than eight times in the first half-hour.

“He’s going to keep saying, ‘Obama, Obama, Obama,’ but it’s about putting Kentucky first,” Conway said, before noting that he would say “$2,000 deductible” as often by the end of the night.

THE BIG PRIZE

When President Obama stepped off Air Force One in Florida Monday, the Democrat seeking the state’s top job was nowhere to be seen. Alex Sink has been keeping President Obama at arm’s length in a state he won by three percentage points in 2008.

And it is unlikely that you will hear one word of complaint from national Democrats. A new Quinnipiac University poll out this morning shows Sink in a dead heat with her Republican opponent, former hospital executive Rick Scott.

Ms. Sink garners 44 percent compared to Mr. Scott’s 45 percent in the poll. And the tightening of the race appears to have more to do with Scott’s deterioration than it does with a Sink surge. “By a 42-37 percent margin, Florida voters have a favorable opinion of Sink, while Scott gets a negative 39-46 percent favorability rating,” per the Quinnipiac release.

The Democratic Governors Association has made Florida one of its top tier targets in an effort to pick up Republican held gubernatorial seats in big states also including California and Texas. The Florida Democratic Party went on the offensive last week with a hard hitting TV ad (largely funded by the DGA) aimed precisely at ticking up Rick Scott’s negatives.