Obama Talks Economy, Foreign Policy In Pa.

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Determined not to let the Republicans get the entire spotlight, Barack Obama has been campaigning hard in swing states. On Thursday, he was in Pennsylvania, which Democrats have won in the past two presidential elections.


Neither candidate entirely stopped campaigning during the other's convention. And yesterday found Barack Obama in the swing state of Pennsylvania. Here's NPR's Audie Cornish.

AUDIE CORNISH: Whether it was a fruit stand or a factory floor, Obama shook hands, slapped backs and worked voters in Pennsylvania like it was the primaries all over again. And he needed to, says voter Tim Brown, because the GOP has been relentless.

Mr. TIM BROWN (Barack Obama Supporter): I think he should fight back more, but that's not his way. All they did was down him the whole time instead of talking about things (unintelligible). They kept (unintelligible) so far. Everything was negative; he's positive, so.

CORNISH: Brown caught sight of Obama here at a farmer's market outside of Harrisburg. The candidate stopped by on a lazy afternoon on the way to a rally in the neighboring town of Lancaster. There, he likened recent Republican attacks to meaningless basketball trash talk, and he says he's heard worse on the court.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois, Presidential Nominee): So, they may have found some new faces to present their message, but it's the same old message. It's a divisive message and the basic idea is we're going to try to distract you, we're going to attack, and attack, and pretend that all these issues don't matter out here.

AUDIE CORNISH: Like most of his events this week, the slice of Americana set up was the opposite of the massive rallies he's known for. Fewer than a hundred people sat on benches or cross-legged on the grass before a small podium draped with stars and stripes, while more than 7,000 stood cheering behind barricades off to the side and out of view of the media lenses. Obama paced the stage explaining his brand of change.

Senator OBAMA: Here's what I mean by change. I believe that we should stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Lancaster and all across Pennsylvania.

CORNISH: His economic platform soon gave way to foreign policy. And he went after the GOP nominee hardest on those issues.

Senator OBAMA: John McCain was a cheerleader for us to go into Iraq. He was wrong and I was right. John McCain said that we could just muddle through in Afghanistan. I said we need to send more troops there and go after Osama bin Laden. Don't talk about chasing him into the gates of hell. Just chase him into that cave where he is.

CORNISH: And as the Republicans pack up from St. Paul, Senator Obama will cap off his week of smaller, more intimate events with a special dinner tonight in Newark, New Jersey. This one, a fund raiser hosted by rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

Audie Cornish, NPR News, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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