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Jobs at stake as midterms loom for Democrats

By Jonathan Mann, CNN
Obama addresses an audience at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
Obama addresses an audience at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. jobless levels at 9.5 percent, some 14 million Americans
  • Democrats fear unemployment will damage their prospects in midterm elections
  • Obama has started campaigning for November 2 elections already
  • CNN poll shows 73 percent of Americans think things are going badly in U.S.

U.S. President Barack Obama is thinking about jobs: looking for jobs for more than 14 million Americans and protecting the jobs of Washington lawmakers at the same time.

"To every American who is looking for work I promise you we're doing to keep on doing everything we can," he said. "I will do everything in my power to help our economy create jobs and opportunity for all people."

The United States elects a president every four years, but schedules congressional elections on two-year cycles. So just as the president settles into the Oval Office, he has to lead his party in another round of campaigning mid-way through his term.

Those 'midterms' are coming up on November 2 and they will be a preoccupation for American politics for the next four months. That is why Obama has been out looking for support in two western states and he has more campaign travel coming.

Video: Obama's approval tanks
Video: Obama talks economy in Nevada
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Usually, the party that controls the White House and Congress expects a protest vote to push back against it in the midterms. Many Democrats fear serious losses this year, because polls suggest voters are so angry.

The most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found that 73 percent of respondents think things are going badly in America -- nearly three times as many as respondents who said things are going well.

Democrats believe the country's 9.5 percent unemployment rate is partly to blame. If Obama could lower that number, a lot of Democrats think it would help.

Republicans see a much darker picture of the national mood. They believe that the economy, the oil spill disaster off the U.S. coast and a host of other concerns as well have convinced Americans that their government is failing.

"Americans don't see an economy in recovery," said Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas. "They see a White House seemingly incapable of protecting our beaches or getting people back to work."

President Obama has a just a few months left to spur job creation in time to have an impact on the midterms. Once they're past, candidates for the presidency will begin organizing their campaigns for the election in 2012. It will be Obama's own job that will be at stake.