WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama headlines a rally in Philadelphia on Sunday, hoping to re-ignite the type of Democratic enthusiasm that carried him to victory two years ago.
Vice President Joe Biden will join Obama in the Germantown community, where the hip-hop band the Roots will warm up the crowd.
It's the second of four large rallies designed to recapture some of the big-stage excitement that Obama created in 2008 with stirring speeches to thousands of young and first-time voters. The president spoke to more than 17,000 people last week in Madison, Wis., where many more thousands watched on screens in an overflow area.
Democrats are desperate to close the "enthusiasm gap" that may lead to huge Republican victories on Nov. 2. Obama is telling liberal-leaning voters that there's no excuse for them to stay home on Election Day.
But the president sometimes sounds wistful when noting the differences between this year and 2008.
"Sometimes I feel as if we had such a high on election night, and then there was the inauguration and Bono was singing and Beyonce," Obama said at a fundraiser in Chicago last week. "That was the start, not the finish, of the journey. And it made each of you a shareholder in the mission of rebuilding our country and reclaiming our future."
First lady Michelle Obama recently told Democratic supporters that the big-stadium events of 2008 were "very exciting, and people should know that those rallies invigorate Barack as well."
"It's time for us to re-engage that energy," said the first lady, who plans to campaign with her husband later this month.
Democratic strategists say their party must persuade thousands of discouraged voters to turn out on Nov. 2 to avert a GOP wave that could put Republicans in control of the House, and possibly the Senate.
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