ABC’s Sunlen Miller reports: Sen. Barack Obama celebrated his three state sweep Saturday night by telling Virginia voters at the state’s Jefferson Jackson dinner, “Today voters from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast to the heart of America stood up to say ‘yes, we can.’ We won in Louisiana, we won in Nebraska, and we won Washington state, and we won north, we won south and we won in between and I believe that we can win in Virginia on Tuesday if you’re ready to stand for change.”
Obama largely avoided criticisms of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton –- who spoke on stage just a half an hour before him. He praised Clinton, saying she was his friend before and will be his friend after the election, and mentioned their differences on health care.
But Obama spent most of his speech criticizing John McCain –- making the case that the presumed Republican nominee has embraced the “failed politics of George Bush’s Washington.”
Obama said McCain “speaks of a hundred year war in Iraq and sees another on the horizon with Iran. He once opposed George Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest few who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them. He said they were too expensive and unwise. That we should never cut taxes for the wealthy. And he was absolutely right then, but somewhere along the line, the wheels came off the Straight Talk Express because he now supports the very same tax cuts he voted against. This is what happens when you spend too long in Washington. Politicians end up not saying what they mean and they don’t mean what they say.”
Then Obama broke down the options for Virginia Democrats, between himself and Sen. Clinton to compete against John McCain. “This fall, we owe the American people a real choice. It’s a choice between debating John McCain about who has the most experience in Washington, or debating him about who’s most likely to change Washington. It’s a choice between debating John McCain about lobbying reform with a nominee who’s taken more money from lobbyists than he has, or doing it with a campaign that hasn’t taken a dime of their money because we’ve been funded by you, the American people.”
Obama argued that the last six polls have shown he’s a stronger candidate against McCain because he’s done better among Independents and can win in traditionally red states.
Upon leaving an audience member held a single sign in the lobby as voters were leaving, reading, “Obama can beat McCain. Think about November.”
Obama will be courting Virginia voters heavily in the days leading up to Tuesday’s primary. He heads to the three main regions of Virginia on Sunday: hitting northern Virginia in Alexandria, the eastern region in Virginia Beach and the western region in Roanoke.