Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) characterized the midterm elections as a life-and-death struggle in a speech Sunday afternoon.

"The choice is clear, you've got to go to the polls," Rendell said during a warm-up address at a large rally in Philadelphia prior to appearances by President Obama and Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenButtigieg says he wouldn't be opposed to having Phish play at his inauguration Poll: Buttigieg surges into contention with Biden, Sanders Buttigieg to fundraise in DC with major Obama, Clinton bundlers next month: report MORE.

"What's the best way to prevent [Republicans] from tearing down the president? It's a four-letter word," the governor said. "Vote like your life depends on it — because, you know, it just might."

Thousands of people gathered in a schoolyard in the working-class neighborhood of Germantown to hear from Obama and Biden, who are in town to support Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak (D).

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