Democratic candidates across five Western states are hoping visits by President Obama will galvanize turnout by younger voters and voters of color, inspire the troops and rekindle the enthusiasm of 2008 that carried them to victory. Obama's Friday rally at the University of Southern California aims to do just that.
And California appears likely to be the most crucial campaign stop on the president's whirlwind tour of the country before the midterm elections. Obama will try to close the deal for incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. The president could encounter the warmest welcome of the campaign season, arriving here on the heels of less-friendly forays into Florida and Ohio.