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(Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Monday launched an effort to get voters who propelled him to victory in 2008 to rally behind Democrats and help turn back Republicans in November congressional elections.

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Obama, in a video message distributed to his supporters, formally leaped into the election campaigns for November in which Democrats are trying to protect their strong majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Democratic fortunes have sagged in recent months and most political analysts believe Republicans are poised to make major gains in November.

Obama rode to victory in 2008 with the benefit of millions of first-time voters who had not been involved in politics. He is seeking to recapture that grassroots appeal for his party this year, specifically reaching out to young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women.

Energizing voters is a potentially difficult step because Obama’s name is not on the ballot in November and voter turnout in non-presidential election years is typically much lower than in years when a presidential election is held.

In the video message distributed to 13 million supporters by email, Obama said party loyalists were asked a few months ago to help set priorities for 2010 and provide advice on how best to win elections in November.


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