LAS VEGAS (AP) — President Barack Obama wrapped up a long day of cross-country campaigning in Las Vegas late Wednesday, telling a cheering crowd during a short campaign rally that they could help tilt Nevada in his favor in the Nov. 6 election and shaking hands with workers at a Las Vegas Strip resort.
“I believe in you. I need you to keep believing in me,” Obama said during an outdoor rally featuring a free concert by pop singer Katy Perry at a park in a historically minority neighborhood just northwest of downtown Las Vegas.
At the Bellagio casino-hotel, Obama told employees in a casino cafeteria that they “represent the dignity of work” and the American dream.
Obama spent less than three hours on the ground in Las Vegas before Air Force One departed from McCarran International Airport about 11:30 p.m. for Tampa, Fla.
The president planned to sleep aboard the plane during the red-eye cross-country flight. He was due to make campaign appearances Thursday in Florida, Virginia and Ohio, and visit to Chicago to vote early.
Obama visited Iowa and Colorado on Wednesday, during what he called his “campaign extravaganza” tour. He also stopped in Los Angeles for an appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
Obama’s Las Vegas speech lasted about 20 minutes, and featured many of the same campaign catch-phrases about Republican candidate Mitt Romney he made earlier in the day in Davenport, Iowa, and Denver.
He waved a copy of his new booklet outlining his second-term objectives, and he joked about “Romnesia” — a memory ailment that he said leads to forgetting what you just said. Obama told the crowd not to worry because the health care law dubbed Obamacare treats pre-existing conditions.
The crowd responded with cheers and with chants of, “Four More Years!”
“Now it’s up to you, Nevada, right here, right now, today,” he said. “You can choose the top-down policies that got us into this mess, or you can choose the policies that are getting us out.”
The Las Vegas campaign event drew more than 10,000 people, according to fire officials and organizers, with long lines still on sidewalks during Perry’s 30-minute performance before Obama arrived.
The singing star took the stage to high-pitched squeals and screams of her fans about 9 p.m., the same time Air Force One landed at McCarran International Airport across town.
Perry wore a tight white dress imprinted like a President of the United States ballot, and a square box on her right hip filled in next to the names of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The singer opened with a rendition of Al Green’s soul hit, “Let’s Stay Together,” and played five songs, including “Teenage Dream, ” before ending with a thumping bass drum version of “Firework.”
Perry, who recently also played a free concert at an Obama event in Los Angeles, paused before the last song Wednesday to exhort people in the Las Vegas crowd to vote early.
“Don’t wait. Go tomorrow,” she said. “How many of you are 18 here? It’s going to be your first time, right?”
Minutes earlier, Democratic Congresswoman and U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley, who is locked in a tight race with appointed GOP incumbent Dean Heller told the crowd that Nevada’s six electoral votes can be the key to re-electing Obama. Obama carried Nevada in 2008.
“We can re-elect Barack Obama right here in this state,” Berkley said.
Romney and running mate Paul Ryan on Tuesday drew a crowd estimated by campaign organizers at 6,000 for a noon Republican party rally at an amphitheater in Henderson, several miles southwest of the Las Vegas.
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