"Democrats are really good at presidential elections these days, if I do say so myself,” said Obama at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in McLean, Va. “But there's something about midterms."
"We get a little sleepy,” he continued. “We don't turn out the vote. That has to change."
“You guys are lucky in Virginia,” Obama told the crowd, praising the state's Democratic senators.
But Obama added that keeping the Senate in Democratic hands was essential to pressing the party's agenda.
"If you care about the environment ... or women getting equal pay for equal work ... making sure we are investing in early childhood education, you'd better make sure the Democrats hold onto the Senate," said Obama.
"I know the Democrats in our Senate. They're not a dogmatic bunch. They're interested in what works," said Obama.
"The party on the other side, though patriotic ... have different ideas, and they've proved not to work,” he added about the GOP.
The president blamed Republican lawmakers for gridlock in Washington, saying there was a “segment of our loyal opposition” that was trying to “make the wheels of government come to a halt.”
Republicans believe they have a strong shot at taking control of the upper chamber this November, buoyed by the rough rollout of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges and a still-weak economic recovery. The GOP needs a net pickup of six seats to take the Senate.
Obama on Tuesday touted his economic record, saying things had improved during his time in office, and hammered home his push for an “opportunity” agenda.
"We now have an economy that is growing. Manufacturing is coming back like we have not seen since the 1990s," Obama told donors.
But he added that it was “important that everybody is able to share" in the growing economy.
Ticket prices for the event ranged from $10,000 to $32,400, according to a DSCC official.