"It was a blue-collar day" in IN 4/30 "as Hillary Clinton tried to get more mileage out of her car for a gas tax break and Barack Obama "struggled to redirect the daily narrative of his campaign away from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright."
"At an invitation-only event for some 30 'working families' fathered at an outdoor pavilion," Obama "fielded questions about the impact of the economy on their lives." He "went through a litany of economic woes, including stagnant wages, escalating gasoline prices and a fall in the annual family income 'for the first time since World War II." Obama: "Michelle and I grew up in modest circumstances. And she certainly didn't marry for the money."
From the audience came a question about his denunciation of his former pastor. Obama: "It was difficult to do, but it was something I had to do. What he said was unacceptable. I only hope it won't continue as a distraction." Clinton had a 4-day stop in IN, "hammering home her message that the Bush administration has dallies while health care is unavailable for millions and food and gasoline prices threaten lower-income families.
Obama "ridiculed Clinton for 'following John McCain's lead' on the summer tax suspension idea, labeling it 'a gimmick to get through the election.'" Obama: "That's the best they can come up with? ... Gas prices are the thing I hear about the most here. This is cutting into everybody." Obama "said the tax break would yield the average family a mere $28 dollars over three months, while raiding an already underfunded Highway Trust Fund." His proposal "he said, would ease the gasoline price by rolling back 'some of the Bush tax cuts'" to give every family $1K a year by eliminating the income tax on social security.
Clinton "argues that Obama's opposition to the tax break idea shows him to be insensitive to the needs of working families" (Farmer, Neward Star-Ledger, 5/1).
I'm A Fool To Do Your Dirty Work, Oh Yeah
"Some union are gearing up their presidential activity" in IN. AFSCME "is the main backer of a group airing ads" in IN critical of Obama's economic plans. Ad: "Out economy is in trouble. Rising prices. Unemployment. Foreclosure. So what is Barack Obama's plan?"
The SEIU "is sending out mailings and airing ads praising Obama for being the only candidate opposed to the Iraq war from the beginning." Clinton "is getting help from the International Assn of Machinists. "Its members wore buttons proclaiming 'IAM counting on Clinton' as she spoke" 4/29 and an Indianapolis company that makes hardwood veneers" (Groppe, Indianapolis Star, 5/1).
I Want You, I Need You, Oh Baby, Oh Baby
Both Dems "are downplaying expectations" for the IN primary "-- a contest that could determine the party's nominee. The Clinton camp "argues that Obama enjoys a home-field advantage of sorts because much of Northern" IN shares the same media marker as IL. Purdue Univ. prof. Jonathan Swarts: "I think it's just going to go right down to the wire." Each candidate has 28 IN offices.
Ball State prof. Raymond Scheele: "I think Obama has not necessarily had a good run in the last 10 days to two weeks." Some analysts say IN "has become a must-win for Obama." IN represents Obama's "last best chance to demonstrate to uncommitted superdelegates his ability to win blue collar voters." Swarts: "I think Hillary Clinton has a real shot to pull something off to put the brakes on Obama." On "the flipside of that coin, there is also a widespread agreement that the state represents a must-win for Clinton if she hopes to continue to save off a mass swing of superdelegates to Obama's side" (Youngman, The Hill, 4/30).
This article appears in the May 1, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.