Democrats Worry Indiana Will Revert To Red
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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Mary Louise Kelly in for Renee Montagne.
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Early voting has already begun, so you're deciding now. And we'll have analysis in a moment from NPR's Cokie Roberts.
LOUISE KELLY: NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports from Elkhart, Indiana.
DON GONYEA: Elkhart County, on the Indiana-Michigan border, is one of those places you might pass through on the way to Chicago or Indianapolis. It has big stretches of farmland but also manufacturing. In fact, it's known as the RV capitol of the world for it's concentration of recreational vehicle factories. It's also the kind of place where it's a very big deal if the president of the United States stops by.
BARACK OBAMA: It is good to be back in Elkhart.
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GONYEA: Sixty-two-year-old worst Kirk Newman works as a bartender and describes himself as an independent who did not vote for Mr. Obama. He says he's voting Republican against the Democratic incumbent in next week's tight congressional race here.
GONYEA: Is this election about Obama?
NEWMAN: Yeah, I believe it is - him and his policies. His policies haven't worked. They're not working anywhere. Where are they working?
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GONYEA: On Elkhart's west side yesterday, 45-year-old Lonnie Allen was raking leaves in his front yard. He is unemployed, laid off from a good paying factory job last year. He's a democrat who says he still supports the president.
LONNIE ALLEN: It felt good for him to come here and recognize what we're going through right now. We appreciate it. But now we want the outcome. You know, we want change. We want something to happen about it. Don't just come down here and say, okay, yeah - you guys are struggling, and then go back to everything else that's going on.
GONYEA: Unidentified Man #2: One, two...
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GONYEA: This is the annual Oktoberfest celebration downtown on Saturday night. It's organizers include 31-year-old Jay Weldy who says he can see the economic stimulus package at work in Elkhart.
JAY WELDY: I'd say that, you know, there's been e a lot of road work. We have bridges that are being resurrected. You have the facades for some of these buildings being redone.
GONYEA: Jay Weldy is an independent who did for Mr. Obama in '08.
WELDY: I really liked the platform of change. Sometime you wonder what change is. But at the same token, you know, I think he needs a little bit more time. We still have two more years to go and I'm going to be positive.
GONYEA: Nearby, 42-year-old Antoine Haynes also describes himself as independent. when he talks, his words echo the president's.
ANTOINE HAYNES: I am hoping that most Americans understand that this is not an easy fix. You know, it's going to took them time. It took some to, you know, get into the hole and it's going to take some time to really get out.
GONYEA: But just when he sounds like just the kind of voter Democrats can count on this year, Haynes says...
HAYNES: I'm - you know, I'm going to say this. I'm still undecided...
GONYEA: Don Gonyea, NPR News, Elkhart Indiana.
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