Obama says Mass. voters face stark choice in Tuesday's special election

Two days before Massachusetts voters go to the polls, President Barack Obama put in a last-ditch effort for the Democratic candidate.

Massachusetts voters face a choice between forward-looking policies or policies of the past, Obama asserted Sunday.

At a campaign rally in the Boston area, Obama launched a full-throated case for state Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate in Tuesday's special election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

"On Tuesday you have the unique and special responsibility to fill the Senate seat you sent Ted Kennedy to fill for nearly 47 years," Obama said in a speech Sunday afternoon. "I'm here to tell you that the person for that job is your attorney general, Martha Coakley."

Coakley and Democrats have been battling furiously to fend off a challenge from Republican Scott Brown, who has been waging an upstart campaign in the usually Democratic state.

The president touted Coakley's independence as the state's attorney general, and said that Brown would represent a return to past policies under the Bush administration.

But Obama also made direct reference to the stakes that have elevated the special election to the forefront of political news: the prospect that a win by Brown on Tuesday could give Republicans enough votes to sustain a filibuster in the Senate.

"On many of the major questions of our day, a lot of these measures are going to rest on one vote in the United States Senate," he said.

The president also sought to summon some of the energy from his own 2008 campaign on behalf of Coakley.

"If you were fired up in the last election, I need you more fired up in this election," Obama said.

Obama's remarks at Northeastern University came as a last-minute addition to the president's weekend schedule after he had previously not planned to stump for Coakley.

Those remarks were interrupted for a short while by an abortion protester and his son, whose remarks were met with boos and chants from the Democratic audience.