President Obama To Visit Seattle Next Week

President President Barack Obama will be in Seattle next week to lead a campaign rally for Democratic Senator Patty Murray.

The Murray campaign says Obama will appear Oct. 21 at the University of Washington's Hec Edmunson Pavilion in Seattle. The event will be free and open to the public, with registration beginning at 9 a.m.

Murray is in an intense re-election contest with Republican Dino Rossi, the two-time runner-up for governor.

Obama was last in Washington state for the Aug. 17 primary election, when he spent half a day touring Seattle on Murray's behalf. Murray rallied with Vice President Joe Biden last Friday,
and has scheduled former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama for political visits this month.

The parade of Democratic Party heavyweights flocking to a usually reliable Democratic state reflects the closeness of Murray's contest against Republican Dino Rossi, a two-time
runner-up for governor.

The Murray-Rossi race also could be critical in deciding which party controls the Senate for the rest of Obama's current term.

Secretary of State Sam Reed is forecasting a relatively high 66 percent turnout from the
state's roughly 3.6 million voters.

Murray's campaign said Obama would appear at a public rally Oct. 21 at the University of Washington's Hec Edmunson Pavilion. The campaign said the event would be free and open to the public with registration beginning at 9 a.m.

Murray said this year's election is a choice between moving ahead with economic recovery or returning to what she called unsound Republican policies.  "President Obama has always been someone who pushes to move forward and fights for the working families of Washington state and our nation," Murray said in a statement. "I am proud to welcome him back to the state."

Rossi's campaign countered that Obama's visit - and those of the other high-ranking Democrats - show that Murray is out of touch with everyday Washingtonians.

"Sen. Murray continues to hold events with the D.C. insiders she works for, while Dino Rossi is meeting with voters across the state who are looking for a leader in the Senate to represent
them," Rossi spokeswoman Jennifer Morris said.

Obama swamped Republican nominee John McCain in Washington in 2008, winning nearly 58 percent of the vote to McCain's roughly 40 percent.

Democrats are trying to avoid major losses in this year's election. Midterm elections typically are troublesome for the president's party, and the stagnant economy has added a potent
element of voter frustration.

Murray was first elected to the Senate in 1992. Rossi, a former state senator, was heavily recruited by national Republican leaders.

Clinton's visit is scheduled for Oct. 18 in Everett, and Michelle Obama's stop is scheduled for Oct 25 in Seattle.