The president suggested the outcome of key elections next Tuesday could determine the fate of his legislative priorities.
The president stopped short of saying next week's election is a referendum on his policies, but suggested the outcome of key elections next Tuesday could determine the fate of his agenda.
Obama made the remarks to appeal to African-American voters to show up for Democrats at the polls. The president has made appeals to young voters and Latino voters in recent days in order to try to drive high voter turnout and replicate the coalition that propelled him and congressional Democrats to victory in 2008.
To that end, the president will also participate this evening in a conference call with black leaders.
Obama has tried to be as stark as possible about the election's repercussions for his legislative priorities while keeping the heat on Republicans. Many Democratic candidates who have enjoyed success in their campaigns have often done so by making the race about their GOP opponent, rather than Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or any of the signature bills the Democratic Congress has passed in the last two years.
"They can't talk about their record," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Monday in a radio appearance. "You know, this election is going to be a referendum on their job-killing policies."
"I also think anybody who is concerned about the direction of the country has to understand that this election is just as important as 2008," Obama explained to Sharpton.
He added that the 2008 elections only won Democrats the ability to start effecting change in Washington — a variation on the president's frequent admonition on the campaign trail that the "change" he promised in his campaign is difficult.
"Essentially, in 2008, we won the ability to start making change, and that's what we've done over the last two years," Obama said.