The western part of Virginia is supposed to be a Republican stronghold, but Barack Obama still managed to attract some 8,000 noisy supporters at a midday rally at the Roanoke Civic Center on Friday.
Here's the Obama strategy at this late stage of the campaign: Hit Republican states hard, and if just one or two of them go Democratic, then John McCain's only path to victory is likely blocked.
Virginia gives Obama one of his best chances to do that. The commonwealth hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Since then, it's been red Republican for 10 straight elections. This year, however, the latest polls give Obama a lead here as big as 10 points.
On Friday, Obama hammered away at McCain on health care.
"Sen. McCain has been eager to share some of the details of his health care plan, but not all of them," Obama called to the crowd. "It's like those ads for prescription drugs. You know, they start off where everybody's running in the fields and everybody's happy. And then there's the little fine print that says, you know, side effects may include ..."
Obama then cited a Wall Street Journal article that said McCain's health care plan would be funded, at least in part, by cuts to the Medicare program.
"Eight-hundred-eighty-two billion dollars in Medicare cuts to pay for an ill-conceived, badly thought-through health care plan that won't provide more health care to people," he said.
The McCain campaign says that figure is wrong and based on a study by a liberal think-tank.
For Obama, it's an issue that he thinks will resonate with middle-class voters and the elderly. Ultimately, it's part of an economic argument that the Democrat hopes will help him win in Virginia and perhaps in other red states like Missouri where he campaigns Saturday.