Obama Welcomes McCain's Call For Respect

But Obama is telling crowds that his Republican opponent isn't focusing much on their economic concerns these days.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DAVID GREENE: And I'm David Greene traveling with Senator Obama.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Democratic Presidential Nominee): How's it going, Chillicothe.

GREENE: Chillicothe, Ohio is an hour south of Columbus and getting close to the heart of Appalachia. It's an area that President Bush won easily in the last election. But yesterday, Obama stood in an outdoor plaza telling a crowd that his Republican opponent, John McCain, isn't focusing much on their economic concerns these days. McCain, he said, seems to be focusing on Obama.

Senator OBAMA: So in the last couple of days, we've seen a barrage of nasty insinuations and attacks, and I'm sure we're going to see more of that in the next 25 days. We know what's coming. We know what they're going to do.

GREENE: Obama suggested that McCain might be getting jittery about his poll numbers.

Senator OBAMA: I know my opponent is worried about his campaign, but that's not what I'm worried about. I'm thinking about the Americans who are losing jobs and homes and their life savings.

GREENE: But Obama didn't have to carry his message alone in this part of Ohio. He had the help of a new friend his audience already knew well.

Governor TED STRICKLAND (Democrat, Ohio): Now, my friends, you know me. I am one of you.

GREENE: That's Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a native of southeast Ohio, who said he was there to put fears to rest.

Governor STRICKLAND: If you are a sportsman, if you are a gun owner, if you are someone that honors and respects the Second Amendment, you have nothing to fear from Barack Obama.

GREENE: He said he knows many people in the audience honor family and faith. And he told them...

Governor STRICKLAND: Barack Obama is a strong Christian family man.

GREENE: Seven months ago, Strickland was a big help to Hillary Clinton's win in the Ohio primary. Now he says he's confident he can turn his swing state blue. Ohio is not just another battleground. No Republican has ever won the White House without it. David Greene, NPR News, traveling with the Obama campaign.

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