Election 2008

Jae C. Hong/AP

In ‘Closing Arguments,’ Obama Pledges to Restore Prosperity

October 27, 2008 05:50 PM
by Liz Colville
Campaigning in Ohio, Barack Obama promised to restore the United States to its status as an economic leader and as a country with a “higher purpose.”

Candidates Compete in Ohio

Democratic candidate Barack Obama is spending much of his final days of the campaign in Ohio—an industrial hub of the country, the home state of Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, a state that Sen. Obama lost in the primaries to N.Y. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and, perhaps most importantly, a state that every Democratic candidate since President John F. Kennedy has needed to win the presidency.

In a speech in Canton Monday afternoon, Obama harkened back to the rousing rhetoric of his 2004 DNC address and his campaign speeches of early 2008, as well as to the nebulous first days of his campaign two years ago.

“Back then, we didn’t have much money or many endorsements,” he said. “But I also knew this. I knew that the size of our challenges had outgrown the smallness of our politics. I believed that Democrats and Republicans and Americans of every political stripe were hungry for new ideas, new leadership, and a new kind of politics. … Most of all, I believed in your ability to make change happen.”

Focusing on a theme of restoration, Obama addressed not only the economic turmoil affecting Americans since the mortgage crisis hit in 2007, but the “moral standing” of the country, the Huffington Post wrote.
The Huffington Post added that Obama “has struggled to sustain a big lead in Ohio despite pounding [Ariz. Sen. John] McCain with TV ads and building a strong get-out-the-vote operation.”

Sen. McCain’s focus on the aspiring small-business owner now known to millions of Americans as “Joe the Plumber” has helped the Republican candidate gain support in Joe’s home state of Ohio, even as key Ohio groups including the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters have endorsed Obama. As of October 27, most polls show Obama several points ahead in the state.

In the speech in Canton, Obama continued to paint McCain as indistinguishable from President George W. Bush on economic issues. The Republican candidate “deserves credit” for the issues on which he’s stood apart from the President, Obama said, but “when it comes to the central issue of this election,” he said McCain has been with President Bush “every step of the way.”

McCain, meanwhile, was giving a shorter speech in Dayton, Ohio, also focusing on what he sees as the failings of the Bush Administration. “We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: spending ourselves into a ditch and hoping that the consequences don’t come.” McCain went on to discuss his tax plan—to “hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here at home”—and, echoing words he had used in an earlier speech in Iowa, teased Obama for “measuring the drapes” and doing a “victory lap” before most Americans had even voted.

Recalling his military career—October 27 is the 41st anniversary of his capture in Hanoi, Vietnam—McCain repeated the word “fight” several times in words that served to connect Americans to the direction of the country: “Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all.”

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