Obama Hammers McCain On Health Care He tells 8,000 noisy supporters in western Virginia that his opponent's health care plan would be funded in part by cuts to Medicare. The Democratic candidate is hitting Republican states like Virginia hard.
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Obama Hammers McCain On Health Care

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Obama Hammers McCain On Health Care

Obama Hammers McCain On Health Care

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DON GONYEA: This is Don Gonyea. The western part of Virginia is supposed to be a Republican stronghold, but Barack Obama still managed to attract some 8,000 noisy supporters to a midday rally at the Roanoke Civic Center.

(Soundbite of Democratic campaign rally)

Unidentified Crowd Members: Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama!

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Democratic Presidential Candidate): Thank you.

GONYEA: 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 LBJ in 1964. Since then it's been red, red, red Republican for 10 straight elections. This year, however, latest polls give Obama a lead as big as 10 points. Yesterday he hammered away at John McCain on health care.

Senator OBAMA: Senator McCain's been eager to share some of the details of his health care plan, but not all of them. It's like those ads for prescription drugs. You know, they start off where everybody's running in the fields, and everybody's happy.

(Soundbite of crowd laughing)

Senator OBAMA: Then there's the little fine print that says, you know, side effects may include...

(Soundbite of crowd laughing)

GONYEA: 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.

Senator OBAMA: Eight hundred and eighty-two billion dollars' worth. $882 billion in Medicare cuts to pay for an ill-conceived, badly thought-through health care plan that won't provide more health care to people.

GONYEA: The McCain campaign says that figure is wrong, that it's based on a study by a liberal think-tank. Though a campaign official does say they hope to trim waste from Medicare and find other ways to save costs in the program. For Obama it's an issue he thinks will resonate with middle-class voters and with 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 today. Don Gonyea, NPR News, traveling with the Obama campaign.

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