Obama Sees Red in Virginia
ROANOKE, Va. — Sen. Barack Obama marched back into Republican territory today, speaking to 8,000 people gathered here in southwest Virginia, a conservative part of a red state that Democrats think they can win for the first time since 1964.
Obama has spent far more time in this part of the state than Sen. John McCain, as Sen. Jim Webb noted when he introduced Obama at the rally. Roanoke illustrates the challenge facing Democrats here.
In 2004, Sen. John Kerry won the city with 52 percent of the vote but got clobbered in the surrounding hills, resulting in a 65 percent to 34 percent loss in Roanoke County. To reach voters who lean away from Democrats, Obama has opened more than double the field offices McCain has in the state, and the Democratic nominee is devoting precious October time to make his case.
Obama did not depart from his stump speech, stressing economic populism and hammering McCain as the second coming of President George W. Bush. Last night, McCain quipped that “Bush” is Obama’s pet name for the GOP nominee — and it sure seems that way on the campaign trail here.
I also caught up with an undecided voter at today’s event — they’re hard to come by at rallies. Lara said that after watching two presidential debates and hearing Obama today, she remains undecided. She was vague about her policy priorities, but said she will definitely vote, given the hard times.
She will also keep praying to help make up her mind.