Emanuel campaigns for Obama in Florida

October 20, 2012 (ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.)

Emanuel made several campaign stops, one in Temple Terrace outside of Tampa and others in nearby St. Petersburg.

The Tampa Bay area is a hotly contested political battle field in the much larger political battle ground state of Florida. That's why the Obama re-election campaign has dispatched to this place one of its most accomplished political generals.

Rahm Emanuel, the President's former Chief of Staff, needed no introduction, even as far away as Temple Terrace, Florida, where he was sent by the Obama re-election campaign to energize front line political troops.

"We're here to give you guys support," Emanuel said. "(We) want to make sure we bring this home. There are big things at stake. We gotta go out there and tell everybody, there are big things at stake."

In Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, surveys suggest the presidential race is neck and neck. Obama's campaign is trying to recapture the energy that turned the state blue in 2008.

"The energy is still there but it is not as high and you wouldn't expect it to be," said Obama campaign worker Blanche Turner.

The mayor will remain in Florida until Monday, when President Obama arrives in Boca Raton on the state's eastern coast for the foreign policy debate. Emanuel says Obama's record is an advantage.

"Said he was going to get us out of Iraq, he did it. Said we were going to focus on Al Qaeda, not only did that but brought justice to Osama Bin Laden," Emanuel said.

During his time in Florida, Emanuel will meet privately with Jewish political leaders here to convince them that the Obama administration remains a friend of Israel.

"I think that maybe he can serve to assure the population that the President understands that he is aware of the issue," said Obama campaign worker Susan Zucker. "I'm sure that Israel is very safe with the President in the White House."

The pre-election polls are all over the place in Florida, with Romney ahead on some, Obama ahead in others.

The only thing on which they appear to agree is that the race in the Sunshine State is very close.

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