Clinton Campaigns in Crucial State of Ohio

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned in Ohio on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's primary. Many analysts say the state is a must-win for Clinton if she wants to stay in the hunt for the nomination.

JACKI LYDEN, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Jacki Lyden. Andrea Seabrook is away.

Today the Democratic nominating contest came down to one town in South central Ohio - the town of Westerville, just outside of Columbus. Hillary Clinton spoke there at a morning rally at West High School.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): And we need a president who can turn this economy around and get it working again to produce the jobs with rising income.

(Soundbite of applause)

Sen. CLINTON: That is especially important for Ohio.

LYDEN: In the afternoon it was Barack Obama, not far away at Central High.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): We're going to start by addressing the cost crisis that so many families are going through. The fact that even though wages have been stagnant, people's expenses keep going up and up and up. And we want to make sure that we're making day-to-day life more and more affordable for the average person.

LYDEN: NPR's David Greene and Don Gonyea are traveling at lightning speeds with the rival campaigns, and David Greene is on the line with me now.

Hi there, David.

DAVID GREENE: Hi, Jacki.

LYDEN: I hope we don't lose you and the bus doesn't pull away in the middle of this little talk.

GREENE: We're on a bus crossing the state of Ohio. I'm in a bus a couple of buses behind Hillary Clinton's bus. She just began a bus tour the rest of the day here.

LYDEN: Well, we know that the senator from New York is trying to pull off the victory she won in New Hampshire eight weeks ago. Seems like a long time. What issues enabled her to win that race?

GREENE: In the final days of New Hampshire, Jacki, you know, we had the tear-up. Hillary Clinton got teary eyed and a lot of voters in New Hampshire thought that that made a difference for them. But Barack Obama was really moving in the polls until the last couple of days. And then the Clinton campaign really feels like she was able to win over the very latest deciders. And voters said that they were really focusing on the issues as opposed to personality. And I think that's a model that they're hoping to recreate, especially here in Ohio.

And if you listen to Hillary Clinton in these speeches, she finishes off by saying, you know, some people vote based on personality. I want you to treat this like a hiring decision. Talk to me about who you want to hire as president, both when it comes to the economy and foreign policies. So if they look back to New Hampshire, they'd love to recreate that in the final days.

LYDEN: How is the Clinton campaign aiming at different voters in Ohio as compared to Texas?

GREENE: Well, certainly there's more of an economic message in Ohio. The state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In Texas, in contrast, in the last day or so she's focused much more on foreign policy, saying that she'd be a stronger commander-in-chief. She had an ad running with a phone ringing at the White House in the middle of the night, suggesting at three in the morning if that call comes through and there's a crisis, she'd be the person that Americans would want in there.

And of course, there are different voters that the campaign is going after. White working class voters, the types of voters that have stuck with Hillary Clinton before, a lot of them in Ohio. And in Texas you have a large number of Latino voters and they have stuck with her.

We look at a state like California, they helped Hillary Clinton pull off a victory there and they're hoping for the same thing in Texas.

LYDEN: Speaking of the ads, Obama is running a lot more than Hillary Clinton. Is she taking note of this somehow?

GREENE: Her campaign certainly is. The campaign actually had a memo to reporters, which suggested that the media has anointed Barack Obama the frontrunner. They say that he's like it, spending a lot more money, and they're using that to set expectations, suggesting now that since he is spending so much money he has been seen as the frontrunner. If he doesn't pull off wins in all the states on Tuesday, they're suggesting that might show he has a problem.

LYDEN: Thanks a lot, David.

That's NPR's David Greene with the Clinton campaign in Ohio.

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