Obama Pushes New Populist Message to NC Voters

Apr 28, 2008 3:28pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Senator Obama, struggling after repeated losses to white, blue collar workers, was singing a different tune today during a town hall in Wilmington, North Carolina, adding lines to his stump speech to make him more appealing to the demographic he has struggled to win over.

Obama’s new populist message started with a direct appeal to the people, saying that in this race he is not against running against Hillary Clinton, but rather running against the very things that have made people’s lives hard.

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"I didn’t get in this race, to run against Sen. Clinton. I ran to run against unemployment. I ran to run against lack of educational opportunity. I ran to run against lack of health care, and substandard housing and a war that we should not have been fought. That’s why I’m running," Obama said and then repeated again, "I’m not running against Sen. Clinton."

Obama said he has gotten wrapped up in negative campaigning recently, which has distracted him from his reason for running, and said he spoke with his campaign team about changing the focus.

"I noticed over the last several weeks, I told this to my team, you know we are starting to sound like other folks – starting to run the same negative stuff. And it shows you  that none of us are immune from this kind of politics. But the problem is that it doesn’t help you.  Having politicians bickering back and forth doesn’t help you. Having them worry about superdelegates doesn’t help you."

Again, Obama repeated his new focus, not the other candidates, but he says, the American people.

"This election is not about me. It’s not about Sen. Clinton. It’s not about John McCain. It’s about you. It’s about your struggles, your hopes, your dreams."

When wrapping up his slightly refigured stump speech, Obama delved deeper into his past than he has before within a stump speech, and criticized those who have publicly questioned if his past has been properly vetted.

He told the story of his grandparents working though the Great Depression, and his mother who was a single mom after his father left when he was two.

Taking heat on the issue of elitism, Obama reminded people that, although he had attended Columbia and Harvard, his family, like them, were still struggling to pay bills, "When my mom came of age, there were student loan programs that she could access so even if she was raising her kids she could go to school and there were scholarships so that she could send her son and her daughter to some of the finest schools in the world, even though there were times when she was on food stamps."

Obama’s argument continued saying that his past struggles drove him to run, "When people ask me about why I’m doing this, what my values are, I try to explain to them it’s about that history in my own family – how I’ve seen this country open up opportunity for people who are willing to work hard."

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