Election 2008

Obama Swings Through Battleground States

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With four days to go until Tuesday's presidential election, Democratic nominee Barack Obama is not slowing down. He campaigned in three battleground states Thursday. He began the day in Florida, went on to Virginia and finished with a late-night rally at the University of Missouri.


It's Morning Edition from NPR News, good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne. Barack Obama's itinerary yesterday was a good indicator of the states likely to have close votes in next Tuesday's election. He started in Florida in Sarasota. Then he headed to Virginia Beach, Virginia and he finished with a late-night rally at the University of Missouri. NPR's Don Gonyea is traveling with the fast-moving campaign and gave us this report.

DON GONYEA: Just before the morning rally in Florida's Gulf Coast, a new government report came out with more bad news for the economy. The nation's gross domestic product declined for the first time this year. And even if the three-tenths of one percent drop wasn't as bad as it might have been, it was further evidence of an economy in trouble. Obama reacted during his speech in Sarasota by saying it was a clear sign of a downturn.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois, Presidential Candidate): That means we're producing less. We're selling less. Our economy's actually shrinking. Florida's in its first recession in 16 years. Across the country, we saw the largest decline in consumer spending in 28 years, as wages failed to keep up with the rising cost of living and folks have to watch every penny.

GONYEA: And he kept talking about it last evening in Virginia Beach.

Sen. OBAMA: None of this happened by accident. Our falling GDP is the direct result of eight years of the trickle down - Wall Street first, Main Street last, policies that have driven our economy into a ditch.

GONYEA: Obama said the question before voters is what direction the two presidential candidates would take the economy.

Sen. OBAMA: What will our next president do to take us in a different direction? Now, Virginia, if you want to know where Senator McCain's going to drive this economy you just look into the rear-view mirror.

GONYEA: Obama's schedule today includes Iowa, a late stop there to shore up support in the state that handed him a fate-changing win in its caucuses way back in the first week of January, then he goes to the Democratic stronghold of Gary, in the reliably Republican state of Indiana - a state that's been red for 10 presidential elections in a row, but a state that is suddenly in play this year. The weekend will be just as frenetic - Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, and possibly more. The Obama campaign has been in the field for nearly two years. And now with the ultimate prize just four days away, it's in no mood to slow the pace. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Columbia, Missouri.

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