SEATTLE -- President Barack Obama's whirlwind campaign tour in Seattle included a "Get Out the Vote" rally at the University of Washington, where he drummed up support for Washington Senator Patty Murray.
Speaking before an audience of 15,000 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Obama fired up the crowd and urged supporters to go vote for Murray and other Democrats.
"If everybody that voted in 2008 shows up in 2010, we will win this election. We will win this election. But you've got to come out and vote," Obama shouted over the applause.
Campaigning for Murray, who is in a tight re-election fight with Republican challenger Dino Rossi, Obama attracted a bigger crowd than the 10,000 who could fit into the arena. The others moved to an overflow area set up in the university's football stadium, and the president ran through the stadium tunnel onto the field to greet them.
Obama's visit to Seattle is part of a four-day campaign swing through Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Minnesota. Obama has vigorously stepped up his campaigning in recent days with fellow Democrats facing the specter of losing control of the House or Senate -- or both -- to Republicans on Nov. 2.
Obama says the fast-approaching midterm elections could set the course of the country for years to come. Obama urged Democrats to head to the polls on Nov. 2 and defy the conventional wisdom that says the party will suffer sweeping losses. Still, Obama acknowledges that the economic crisis makes this a difficult election cycle for Democrats.
With the elections less than two weeks away and Democrats fearing big losses, candidates, party allies and others are joining Obama in seeking women's votes by hitting Republican opponents -- in ads, mailings and speeches -- on issues such as abortion rights. In every corner of the country, they are arguing that the GOP would erase progress American women have made under Democratic control of the White House and Congress.
Women could hold the key for Obama and his party as Democrats look to minimize expected widespread losses at all levels of government in a year when, particularly on the Republican side, female candidates top ballots in statewide races in Connecticut, South Carolina, California, New Hampshire, New Mexico and elsewhere.
Hope for the Democrats: A lot of women are undecided, and more than a third who are likely to vote say they could still change their minds before the election.
With that in mind, the White House, Democratic candidates and outside groups are reaching out to female voters.
Before the UW rally, Obama participated in a backyard chat with a small group of people at a home in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood. Making it personal, Obama told the group he's determined to make sure that girls get as good an education as boys, particularly in math and science.
"As a father of two daughters, this is something that I spend a lot of time thinking about," he said.
He presented two women -- Christina Lomasney, a physicist and president of a local metals company, and Jody Hall, who has five cupcake shops in the Seattle area -- who praised the government for business help.
Obama also managed to squeezed in a stop at Top Pot doughnuts, where he ordered two dozen sampler doughnuts to go.
At the UW, dozens of people started camping out in front of the Hec Edmundson Pavilion Wednesday afternoon. By 7:00 a.m. Thursday, the line wrapped down the block in front of the pavilion. Many brought and slept in sleeping bags, others had fold out chairs; all were bundled up in warm clothes. Some UW students said they missed class to see the president speak, but everyone said it was worth it to see the president in person.
"I've never seen a governor in person, I've never seen a senator in person, so I thought this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the president in Seattle with my daughter. I'm so excited," said Leslie Rothrazk, who is fourth in line.
Another mother drove from Spokane Wednesday with her 13-year-old son and camped all night with the group. She said she was determined to be at UW for the rally.
Individual protesters and groups were also at the rally. The protesters included at least one anti-war group and another group demanding the president end the military’s “don’t ask don't tell" policy. Members of the Tea Party were also present.
After the rally at the UW, Obama headed straight to Boeing Field where he departed Seattle around 1:30 p.m. He heads next to San Francisco where he'll continue his campaign swing.
KING 5's Teresa Yuan contributed to this report.