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Obama, Clinton Work to Gain Ground in Wis., Texas

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Obama, Clinton Work to Gain Ground in Wis., Texas

Election 2008

Obama, Clinton Work to Gain Ground in Wis., Texas

Obama, Clinton Work to Gain Ground in Wis., Texas

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A day after Barack Obama's triple win in the Potomac Primaries, fellow Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is trying to engineer a big comeback. Obama used an appearance in Janesville, Wis., to answer repeated accusations that he's all style and no substance. And Clinton has gone to Texas — a state she considers a stronghold — to try to defend it.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

A day after Barack Obama's triple win on the Potomac Primaries, he's used an appearance in Jamesville, Wisconsin, to answer accusations that he's all style and no substance.

His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, have gone to Texas, a state she considers a stronghold to try to defend it.

BLOCK: We're joined by NPR's David Greene and Don Gonyea now. And David, you're in McAllen, Texas, with the Clinton campaign. What have you heard from Senator Clinton today?

DAVID GREENE: That's right. Hillary Clinton got a really early start down in the southern tip of the state. And she did a rally here. She also spoke to reporters. Before talking a lot about Texas, though, she did have one thing to say that she hadn't said yet about the Potomac Primaries. Here's what she said.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): I want to congratulate Senator Obama on his recent victories, and tell him to meet me in Texas. We're ready.

GREENE: So from there, it was all about Texas. And she spoke very knowledgeably about a lot of local issues that are in the minds of Texans here in the Rio Grande valley. She speaks often about how 35 years ago, she was registering voters for the Democratic Party along the Mexican border. And she says she feels like she has a depth and breadth of support in Texas, a support that will help her regain some momentum.

She also took a whack at Barack Obama today, Melissa. She said that if she's in the solutions business, Barack Obama is in the promises business.

BLOCK: Well, David, hang on with us. Here, we're going to go to Don Gonyea now who's in Jamesville, Wisconsin with Senator Obama. Don, how was Senator Obama responding to that?

DON GONYEA: One thing he did today is he seemed to respond to that criticism that he's all about the powerful speech and big arena with a lot of music, but that he falls short when it comes to really putting meat on the bones.

Today, he was at an auto plant, a big GM truck factory. And before he gave this talk - it was an economic speech - he set it up by telling his mostly blue collar audience this:

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): This is going to be a speech that's a little more detailed. It's going to be a little bit longer, not as a many applause lines. But what I really want to do is talk from the heart about where I want to take this economy, and so I hope people will bear with me as we go through it.

BLOCK: Well, what were some of those details that he was promising to give them?

GONYEA: Well, a lot of it was stuff that we have heard before, as part of his regular stump speech, just fleshed out a little bit more. He talked about a college tuition credit. But he also talked about investing $150 billion - billion dollars with a B - over 10 years to establish an energy sector, a green energy sector, he says, that he predicts can create millions of new jobs and be good for the environment at the same time.

There's one thing that he says in every stump speech, and it gets a huge, huge applause and cheer. He talks about how he went to Detroit and told the automakers that they need to double the fuel efficiency of their cars.

Here he was today at a GM plant - and there was an array of big sport utility vehicles behind him, some of them powered by ethanol - but he did not talk about fuel efficiency today at this venue.

BLOCK: Let's go back to David Greene now with the Clinton campaign. And David, Barack Obama has a lot of momentum - seven victories in a row now. It seems that this will be a tangibly anxious day with the Clinton camp.

GREENE: Yeah. You know Melissa, the Clinton team, in public, is saying - and Hillary Clinton herself is saying - this is all according to plan. They knew this was going to be a tough road through February, and they expected there to be ups and downs, and this is a down time.

But behind the scenes, you know, you talk to her staff privately, they acknowledge that losing hasn't been easy. You also have the staff shakeup, a new campaign manager and now a deputy campaign manager. Mike Henry is stepping down and he wrote a parting memo to staff, saying that there need to be some adjustments if the campaign is going to win.

BLOCK: Okay. David and Tom, thanks so much.

GONYEA: Thank you.

GREENE: Thanks, Melissa.

BLOCK: That's NPR's David Greene and Don Gonyea, traveling with the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

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