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Obama Parachutes Into Nevada to Boost Reid

President Barack Obama on Friday lavished praise on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) during a Nevada town hall meeting aimed at boosting the imperiled incumbent’s sinking popularity.

Obama hosted the town hall in Henderson for Reid, who sat smiling in the front row and received frequent rounds of applause as Obama ticked off Reid’s efforts to boost job creation, invest in clean energy, advance health care reform and combat corporate greed on Wall Street. He singled out Reid’s “extraordinary courage” to take on health care reform and even delivered him a standing ovation by calling him “one of the toughest people I know” when it comes to fighting for the middle class. Reid is up for a fifth term this fall and is considered one of the Senate Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents.

“Harry Reid has never stopped fighting. He hasn’t stopped fighting for Henderson, he hasn’t stopped fighting for Nevada, and he hasn’t stopped fighting for the United States of America and middle-class families all across this country that need a fair shake,” Obama said.

Referring to Reid’s support for last year’s $787 billion stimulus, the president said the nation is “no longer staring into an economic abyss because of what Harry Reid did.”

Not that it was all accolades for Reid on Friday: The Nevada Republican Party held a rally outside the town hall to highlight his and Obama’s “reckless economic policies that have been destructive for Nevada and the nation,” according to the group’s news release.

The night before, Obama attended a Democratic National Committee fundraising dinner at a private home in Las Vegas. According to White House pool reports, Reid attended the hourlong dinner that was hosted by George J. Maloof Jr., the owner of the Sacramento Kings, the Sacramento Monarchs and the Palms Casino Resort.

On Thursday, Obama was stumping for another Senator in trouble in the polls: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). Obama hit a Denver grass-roots fundraiser and later attended a fundraising reception for Bennet, during which Obama urged attendees to “worker harder in 2010” than they did in 2008 to get Bennet elected. The two events were expected to raise up to $700,000 for Bennet, who took office in January 2009 when then-Sen. Ken Salazar (D) resigned to become Obama’s Interior secretary.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs downplayed the significance of Obama hitting the two states at such an early stage in the campaign season.

“In a presidential year they’re very competitive states, as they were just two years ago. Look, I think the political landscape, not just in these two states but throughout the country, continues to be dominated by concern about the economy,” Gibbs said Thursday.

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