Obama zeros in on Ohio
Strickland helps nominee court Appalachian vote
Friday, October 10, 2008 3:04 AM
By Joe Hallett
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio -- With Appalachian Ohio's favorite son in tow, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama last night appealed to voters in the state's most economically distressed and politically fickle region, one which could decide the outcome of the Ohio election. A month to the day from his last visit to Ohio, Obama began a strategic swing to an area that was unfriendly to him in the March primary election, stressing that his economic plan offers more to voters than "John McCain's George Bush policies."
Obama zeroed in on another dismal day on Wall Street following yesterday's 679-point Dow Jones loss.
"Now is not the time for fear or panic; now is the time for resolve and leadership so we can steer out of this crisis," Obama told a huge outdoor gathering at Shawnee State University.
Obama was joined at every stop yesterday, including Dayton and Cincinnati, by Gov. Ted Strickland. But nowhere does he need Strickland's help more than in Ohio's 29-county Appalachian region, which Strickland won with 70 percent of the vote in 2006 and Obama lost by an average of 44 points per county to Sen. Hillary Clinton in the March primary.
Greeted like a hometown hero, Strickland beseeched the crowd "to put aside the angry rhetoric and smear tactics" of the McCain campaign and vote for Obama in their own economic self-interests.
On the same day that the National Rifle Association endorsed McCain, Strickland reassured voters in a gun-loving region that "if you are a hunter or a gun owner ... you have nothing to fear from Barack Obama. You spread the word -- Ted Strickland said so."
Appalachia Ohio is a traditional swing area in presidential elections -- Republican President George W. Bush won it twice and Democratic President Bill Clinton won it twice before him -- because voters often are in a throw-the-bums-out mood because of chronically high unemployment.