Obama Debuts 'Closing' Speech; Vows to Help Middle Class

Article excerpt

Byline: S.A. Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

CANTON, Ohio -- Sen. Barack Obama chose this critical swing state to introduce Monday his closing argument for the final week of the campaign - a 30-minute populist stump speech promising economic deliverance for middle-class America - before heading to Pennsylvania to block a push by Republican Sen. John McCain to turn the tide of the election.

The Obama campaign insisted the stops Monday in Pittsburgh and Tuesday in the Philadelphia suburbs were not a deviation from its end-game strategy, but Pennsylvania is the first Democrat-leaning battleground state Mr. Obama has visited in more than three weeks. His personal appearances lately have been concentrated in several states that backed President Bush in 2004 but are tipping to the Democrat this year.

Mr. Obama consistently scores a double-digit lead in polls in Pennsylvania, which hasn't voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988, but the McCain campaign identified the state as its best chance for an upset and has poured in resources.

We are not taking any vote for granted in any state and that includes Pennsylvania, Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We always thought it would be a close race and ... we are fighting

like we are five points down until November 4"

In the speech, he summed up his promise to bring change to Washington politics and to the country, a stance he said that contrasted with the favor-the-wealthy policies of Mr. McCain.

In one week, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street, Mr. Obama told a rally of about 4,900 people at the Canton Civic Center Arena.

In one week, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, create new jobs, and grow this economy from the bottom up so that everyone has a chance to succeed - from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor; from the factory owner, to the men and women who work on its floor, the Illinois senator said. …