Obama Campaigns In Reliably Red Indiana

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On the morning after his second debate with John McCain, Barack Obama traveled to Indiana. Obama is making a play for the state, which has voted Republican for the past 40 years. Polls show Obama in striking distance and he drew a huge crowd Wednesday.


This is All Things Considered form NPR News, I'm Melissa Block. One day after the presidential debate, the candidates held boisterous rallies. They were focusing on states that have traditionally fallen into the other party's column. Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden campaigned separately. John McCain campaigned with his running mate Sarah Palin. First we go to Obama, who spoke to a crowd of thousands in Indianapolis.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): I realize you're cynical, I realize some of you are fed up with politics, I realize you're disappointed and even angry with your leaders. And you have every right to be. But despite all of this, I ask of you what's been asked of the American people in times of trial and turmoil throughout our history. I ask you to believe. Believe in yourselves. Believe in each other. Believe in the future we can build together. Because together we cannot fail.

BLOCK: NPR's David Greene is traveling with the Obama campaign, he joins us from the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. And David, though, that tone of hope and faith coming from Barack Obama, does that represent pretty much his speech his speech on the whole?

DAVID GREENE: It does. This is one of those events, Melissa, where there was a large crowd braving the elements here on a nasty day in Indiana and Barack Obama seemed to feed from the large crowd. And talk about hope, optimism - he's been returning to that more optimistic tone in the last few weeks and it's going back to how he started the campaign, saying that all Americans can make a sacrifice and be part of this movement he wants to bring to the country especially at a time of crisis.

BLOCK: Did Senator Obama refer specifically to the debate last night?

GREENE: He did, and no speech these days is complete without some - a bit of turning negative. And he said that he and McCain in that debate had a chance to make the case for change. And that John McCain made it clear that he wants to actually George Bush's policies and that an Obama administration would be very different. He also said that John McCain seems very worried about losing on election these days while he should be worried about Americans losing their jobs. So that was quite a turn too.

BLOCK: David, it's telling that Barack Obama is in Indiana today, this is a state that George Bush won by 20 points four years ago, and the Obama campaign thinks it has a real shot here.

GREENE: Well, and that's what we seen in the last - the last couple weeks. As the polls have changed a bit, as the economic concerns of Americans seemed to be putting Barack Obama in a better political position, it's changed the map in a way, even though that the national polls remain relatively, close many of them. The Obama campaign feels that they can play in more places. And so on a day like this, you know, right after the debate, they rushed to a state like Indiana, very red state. Leading up to the debate, they were in another red state, North Carolina. And so even if they can't win here and the campaign is talking as if they have a good shot, they feel like it might put some pressure on John McCain to spend some time and resources in places where he didn't really want to be in these final weeks. And you know, this is the sort of thing that Barack Obama did to Hillary Clinton, kind of mixing up the map a little bit and putting some pressure on his opponent.

BLOCK: OK. NPR's David Greene with the Obama campaign in Indianapolis. David, thanks very much.

GREENE: Thank you Melissa.

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