Looking At Obama's Promises Of 'Change'

The Democrats have something in common with the Republicans: they both say they want "change." We look at what that might mean if Sen. Barack Obama becomes president.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News this is Weekend Edition, I'm Liane Hansen. Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama are locked in a tug-of-war over who can bring change to Washington and frustrated American voters. At campaign rallies this weekend, both candidates stressed their potential to shake up the status quo. We'll hear about Senator McCain in a moment. We begin with NPR's Audie Cornish who's traveling with the Obama campaign.

AUDIE CORNISH: The Democratic presidential nominee spent Saturday in Terre Haute, Indiana, trying to win over the blue-collar voters of a red-leaning state. And the first order of business was reclaiming his campaign slogan.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee): Everywhere I go, we've been talking about change. That's been the theme of this campaign. And we must be onto something because I notice now everybody's talking about change now.

(Soundbite of applause)

CORNISH: Obama went on to list the myriad of ways he says he stands for change and the ways John McCain does not.

Senator OBAMA: Maybe what they're saying is, watch out George Bush. Except for economic policies, and tax policies, and energy policies, and health care policies, and education policies, and Karl Rove style politics, except for all that, we're really going to bring change to Washington.

CORNISH: And after days of saying that he wouldn't engage McCain's running mate, Obama fired back at GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Senator OBAMA: She's a skillful politician, but, you know, when you've been taking all these earmarks when it's convenient and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change. Come on.

CORNISH: The Illinois senator even went after McCain's campaign handlers, accusing his running mate of having too many lobbyists as managers who improve things in Washington. And Obama mocked his rival's claims to want to reduce the partisan ranker when the Republican convention speakers were so sharp in their criticism of the Democratic nominee. Of his own policies, Obama stuck to the central theme of the past week's Rust Belt tour, creating new jobs.

Senator OBAMA: And we will convert old steel mills that have closed to make wind turbines. And we'll convert old plants to make solar panels. And we are going to create five million new green energy jobs that cannot be exported and pay good wages right here in the United States.

CORNISH: The two camps will put aside their differences at least once this week. Both Obama and McCain are scheduled to make a joint appearance in New York for the seventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Audie Cornish, NPR News, traveling with the Obama campaign.

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