Will Pres. Obama's visit make a difference in how you vote?
SEATTLE – President Barack Obama arrived in Seattle Wednesday night, his second stop on a five-state, four-day campaign swing, his longest of the season.
Air Force One landed at Boeing Field at 9:22 p.m. Gov. Chris Gregoire, Congressman Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine were among those greeting him when he disembarked. He then went over to a reception area where he shook hands with members of the public who came to see him.
Obama will stay at a downtown Seattle hotel Wednesday night.
On Thursday morning, he'll attend a "Backyard conversation" in Seattle's Wedgwood / View Ridge neighborhood at 9:30 a.m. Then, he'll be joined by Democratic Senator Patty Murray at a Get Out the Vote rally at the University of Washington starting at 11:30 a.m. The rally is free and open to the public at the Hec Edmundson Pavillion.
He is expected to depart Boeing Field at around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Traffic is expected to be disrupted on Interstate 5 and on major streets during the visit.
This is Obama's second visit since August to campaign for Murray, a three-term incumbent who is in a tight battle with Republican challenger Dino Rossi.
Earlier in the evening, the president attended a rally for John Kitzhaber, Oregon’s Democratic candidate for governor. An estimated 10,000 people were at the Oregon Convention Center to hear Obama speak.
Two years ago, Obama electrified Portland with a rally that drew 75,000 people as he campaigned for president.
"I've got a special place in my heart for Oregon," Obama exclaimed at the start of Wednesday's rally at the Oregon Convention Center, getting applause from a crowd estimated by the Kitzhaber campaign at about 8,000.
Kitzhaber is in a tough race with Republican Chris Dudley, a former center with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Tim Hibbitts, a prominent Portland pollster, told The Associated Press: "This is such a desperately close race, a point or a half a point could make a difference."
Hibbitts said surveys have consistently shown Kitzhaber and Dudley well within the margin of error, so Obama's appearance could provide a crucial edge.
Dudley has made the race so close with the help of a huge fundraising effort. He had raised $8 million and had $2 million on hand as of Monday. Kitzhaber had raised $4.5 million and had about $1 million of that on hand.
Kitzhaber, a doctor, was elected governor in 1994 and re-elected four years later. He is seeking an unprecedented third term. Dudley, a former NBA player and wealth manager and adviser, is a political rookie.
After Seattle, Obama will campaign in California and Nevada for senators Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid, respectively. Obama will also stump for gubernatorial candidates California and Minnesota ahead of the Nov. 2 elections.