Election 2008: On the Campaign Trail

Obama And Biden Campaign In Midwest

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Sen. Barack Obama is on a bus tour of the Midwest this weekend with his running mate, Joe Biden. The bus stopped in Dublin, Ohio, Saturday, where Obama attended a memorial service for Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.


Barack Obama is on a bus tour of the Midwest today with his running Joe Biden and with NPR's Don Gonyea. The bus just stopped in Dublin, Ohio, I guess. Don, where have you been today?

DON GONYEA: Well, we do have a rally tonight in Dublin. But earlier in the day, Senator Obama attended a memorial service for Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who passed away last week. Senator Obama was seated on stage at that event with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Of course, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones had been a supporter of Hillary Clinton during the campaign. President Bill Clinton was on the stage as well.

Senator Obama spoke briefly. He was one of the speakers at the service and he said, now that she has left us, we've all got to pick up some slack. We've all got some unfinished business to attend to - the business of shaking things up. This was not a political event at all but sounds like the kind of thing he talks about on the stump as well.

LYDEN: Well, speaking of shaking things up, as you know, Don, the Obama campaign released a new ad today responding to Senator John McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Here's a piece of it:

(Soundbite of ad)

Unidentified Woman: Well, he's made his choice, but for the rest of us, there's still no change. McCain doesn't get it.

LYDEN: So, Don, what's being made of that?

GONYEA: Well, it's an interesting ad because if you just listen to the audio it is not at all about Sarah Palin; it is about John McCain. Basically, it says it doesn't matter who he's running with, nothing changes. He is still tied to the policies of the administration of George W. Bush, and the ad really does try to make the case that no matter who John McCain's running mate is, that his real running mate is the Bush record of the last eight years.

And while Sarah Palin may be a fresh face - in fact, we see lots of images of her face in this particular ad - that the thing that they want voters to come away from this with is that John McCain has voted with George W. Bush over 90 percent of the time, as Senator Obama says in speech after speech after speech. That's what that ad is driving home. They're being careful not to attack Sarah Palin.

They're not even talking about her relative lack of experience, just having been governor of Alaska, you know, for less than two years. They're focusing on John McCain.

LYDEN: Just quickly: the McCain camp seems to have made the choice in the announcement to limit the impact of Senator Obama's speech on Thursday night. Did that strategy work?

GONYEA: Well, it certainly changed the subject Friday. Instead of, you know, all of the cable news stations and, you know, and even to some degree spending, you know, so much of Friday looking back at that speech the night before. Certainly we did look back at the speech the night before. But by mid-morning we had this surprise and unexpected announcement from Senator McCain.

So, they got the dialogue going. You know, the Obama campaign says, hey, we knew it was coming. You know, we control what we can control; they can do what they want to do. So they're just rolling with it.

LYDEN: Thanks very much. NPR's Don Gonyea from Dublin, Ohio traveling with the Obama campaign. Thanks, Don.

GONYEA: All right. Take care.

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