LAS VEGAS, Oct 22 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, fighting to keep Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate, accused Republicans on Friday of peddling discredited “snake oil ideas” about the U.S. economy.
On a five-day sprint through western states, he also entered the highest profile race of the Nov. 2 congressional elections — a contest between Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle.
Obama portrayed the embattled Reid as a champion for the middle class who stays awake at night worrying about people whose houses have been foreclosed.
“You know, Harry’s not the flashiest guy, let’s face it,” Obama told a crowd of about 9,000 people in Las Vegas. “Harry kind of speaks in a very soft voice. He doesn’t move real quick. He doesn’t get up and make big stem-winding speeches. But Harry Reid does the right thing.”
In another important race, California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is facing a tough challenge from Republican Carly Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina has shown strength in the state despite its strongly Democratic leanings.
At a rally at the University of Southern California that drew more 37,000 people, Obama portrayed the election as a “choice between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that will get us out.”
He acknowledged that economic woes made for a tough election climate for Democrats, but said Republicans seeking control of Congress did not have the answer.
“They are clinging to the same worn-out, tired snake oil ideas that they were peddling before,” Obama said, referring to Bush-era policies he blames for putting the economy in a deep hole that it is still struggling to climb out of.
In his campaign speech Obama did not specifically mention a fiasco over home foreclosure documents issued by banks, but he did allude to the crisis in U.S. housing and the toll it has taken on families.
“Families are hanging on by a thread. A lot of folks are seeing their homes lose a lot of value. A lot of foreclosures out here,” Obama said. “It keeps me up at night, it keeps Harry Reid up at night. That’s what keeps us fighting.”
Angle has taken aim at Reid over his ownership of condominium he owns at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington.
But Obama said Reid is not someone who was born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth and that he comes from a family of “working folk.”