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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Obama Reminds Supporters About the 2000 Election

President Obama and his advisers are fond of reminding people just how close this election will be. Now they are putting those words into a new ad that reminds voters how the country could have taken a much different turn in 2000 had more of Al Gore's supporters turned up at the polls.

The ad is called “537,” a reference to the number of votes that separated George W. Bush from Mr. Gore in Florida. Or, as the ad puts it in rather dramatic terms, 537 was “the difference between what was and what could have been.”

It continues, “So this year if you're thinking that your vote doesn't count, that it won't matter, well back then there were probably at least 537 people who felt the same way. Make your voice heard. Vote.”

“Vote” has become a refrain in Mr. Obama's stump speeches lately. When he mentions his opponents by name, eliciting the predictable boos from the crowd, he implores them: “Don't boo. Vote.”

The ad also underscores a ma jor hurdle for Democrats to overcome as they battle Mitt Romney. Enthusiasm among their base is not nearly as high as it was four years ago. And the Obama campaign, mindful that low turnout could cost it the election, has been making extensive efforts to get its voters to the polls - both on Election Day and through early voting.

With its heavy, almost defensive tone, the ad never mentions or shows a photograph of Mr. Gore. Instead, the ad seems intended to motivate the Democratic Party's base using a favorite boogeyman: Mr. Bush.

Follow Jeremy W. Peters on Twitter at @ jwpetersNYT .