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Obama defends Reid in Las Vegas campaign swing

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Obama?stumps for Sen. Reid
  • Obama says Reid is "a fighter" for Nevada
  • Obama wraps up two-state swing
  • Nevada has nation's highest unemployment rate at 14 percent
  • "Presidential visits are a double-edged sword," says analyst Stuart Rothenberg

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama wrapped up a two-state campaign swing Friday, stumping for embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid while talking up the economy in a speech at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Reid's "a fighter, and you should never bet against him," Obama said in his prepared remarks. "And that's just what we need right now. We need someone who's going to fight for the people of Nevada and for the American people."

"Harry and I are going to keep on fighting," Obama said. "Until wages and incomes are rising again, businesses are hiring again, and Americans are headed back to work again. Until we not only recover from this recession, but rebuild our economy stronger than before."

Reid slammed Senate Republicans for being "the party of no," claiming he's only been able to work with a dwindling handful of GOP moderates. "They're betting on failure," he said.

Nevada currently has the highest state unemployment rate in the nation at 14 percent, adding to Reid's tough reelection fight this year against GOP nominee Sharron Angle. At a rally on Thursday. Obama ripped into Angle, alleging among other things that she wants to phase out Medicare and Social Security along with federal education funding.

Obama also attacked Angle for recently calling BP's Gulf compensation fund a "slush fund" during a radio interview on Wednesday. Angle retreated from her comments on Thursday, saying she shouldn't have used the term "slush fund" and asserting that she supported the fund.

Nevada is the second stop on a campaign tour also brought the "campaigner-in-chief" to the Midwest this week to help out another Democratic Senate candidate -- Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Video: Obama talks economy in Nevada

Carnahan will most likely face off in November against seven-term Republican Rep. Roy Blunt, in a battle between two of the most famous political families in Missouri. Both candidates are fighting to succeed Republican Sen. Kit Bond, who is not running for re-election this year. The race is one of the few where the Democrats have a chance to pick up a GOP held seat.

Obama's visit was his fourth to Missouri since losing the state in the 2008 presidential election to Sen. John McCain by less than 4,000 votes.

In March, Republicans pounced on Carnahan when she didn't attend an Obama health care reform event in her state, saying she was trying to keep her distance from the president. Carnahan's campaign said she was in the Washington, D.C. for a conference as part of her duties as secretary of state. Carnahan did team up with Obama when he came back to Missouri a month later to hold an event on the economy.

"Presidential visits are a double-edged sword. They raise money for Democratic candidates and energize Democratic voters, but they give Republicans plenty of ammo and interject Obama into every contest," says Stuart Rothenberg, publisher and editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.

Following his stop over in Missouri, the president headed west to Las Vegas.

CNN's Alan Silverleib and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.