Obama Has Michigan To Himself

Democratic hopeful Barack Obama campaigned Thursday in Michigan. That's where he began the week. Michigan already seems to be a win for Obama. The McCain campaign confirmed Thursday that it is pulling out of Michigan.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

After casting votes for the revised financial bailout plan in Washington, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama are back looking for votes. McCain headed to Colorado. Obama ended the week where he started it, in Michigan.

ARI SHAPIRO, host:

The state went for Kerry in 2004, and McCain had been working to put it in play for Republicans this year. At least he was until yesterday. The McCain campaign is pulling out of Michigan.

MONTAGNE: In a moment, we'll hear from NPR's Scott Horsley on that decision. First, NPR's Audie Cornish reports on Senator Obama's stay.

AUDIE CORNISH: Senator Barack Obama had Michigan all to himself. But you wouldn't know it from his schedule. The senator campaigned in the heavily Republican area of Grand Rapids and followed that up with a huge rally in East Lansing. After the crazy week on Wall Street, voter Karen Sprecher (ph) said more than anything, she needed to hear what Obama had to say about the economy.

Ms. KAREN SPRECHER (Resident, Grand Rapids, Michigan): Well, I am totally convinced who I am voting for, so he doesn't need to convince me. What he needs to do in Michigan, I suppose, is give some hope to some people who - we're in just a bad state here, and there are so many people without jobs. It just really concerns me, because that's the nitty-gritty. That's the everyday...

CORNISH: And for Sprecher and the thousands who rallied at Michigan State University, Obama didn't disappoint.

(Soundbite of campaign rally)

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee): Can you retire with dignity and respect? Can you avoid bankruptcy when you get sick? Can you send your child to college so they can have bigger dreams than you did? Opportunity for every American, that's what we're fighting for. That's what this election is about.

CORNISH: When it's time to get specific about his economic philosophy, Obama pitches both major spending and major cutting. For example, a pledge to spend $15 billion for a green energy manufacturing sector is followed by vague promises to save billions by cutting waste in government programs. And despite the multibillion dollar bailout and looming deficit, Obama says his platform is still doable.

Sen. OBAMA: And there is no doubt that some programs or policies that I proposed on the campaign trail may require more time to achieve. But I reject the idea that you can't build a strong middle class at a time when our economy is weak. I believe building a strong middle class is the key to making our economy strong. And that's what we'll do when I am president.

CORNISH: Obama hardly mentioned his rival, John McCain, which was fine with Joanne Westfall (ph). She says the Democratic nominee needs to stay focused on the things she believes he's stood for so far.

Ms. JOANNE WESTFALL (Resident, Michigan): Honesty, accountability, courage and honor - and if he begins to hammer on those principals rather than on the values that the Republicans for that last eight years have touted and really have not delivered on, I think that will make the difference.

CORNISH: For now, Obama has Westfall's vote and, according to the polls, the support of the majority of voters across the state. Audi Cornish, NPR News, Lansing, Michigan.

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