ABC News’ David Wright, Andy Fies and Sunlen Miller Report: Senator Obama used Congressman-elect Travis Childers’ win last night in a Mississippi special election as proof that he can beat John McCain in Michigan.
Obama, in his first visit to Michigan since June, told a Warren audience that regardless of the fierce Republican attacks, the Democratic candidate was still able to win over a Republican seat.
“They just lost an election yesterday in the heart of Mississippi,” Obama said of the Republicans, “They were trying to do every trick in the book to try to scare folks in Mississippi and it didn’t work.”
The Republican party of Mississippi ran ads in the special election trying to link Childers with Obama– attempting to turn white conservatives away from voting for Childers.
“They did everything they could to, you know – they ran ads with my face on it and they said, ‘oh you know look at this – you know former liberal and you know his former pastor said offensive things.’” Obama said referencing the Mississippi Republicans party’s ads which evoked his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Obama argued that even with these tactics, the Democrat won in a Republican stronghold by eight points – which he claimed is proof that the chances for him, in a match up with McCain, in states like Mississippi are good.
“The reason it didn’t work is because the American people know we need a new direction in Washington," said Obama. "That’s why we’re gonna win Michigan, that’s why we’re gonna beat John McCain here in Michigan."
This marks Obama’s first campaign event in Michigan since the state was stripped of its delegates because the state, like Florida, held its primary earlier than allowed by the DNC’s rules.
Obama reminded the crowd that his poor showing in the Michigan primary, which Clinton won, was because he was following the rules.
“Because of the whole hoopla around when Michigan held its primary, my name was not on the ballot," Obama said. "We did not do campaigning here and I just want to remind everybody that wasn’t my choosing.”
Obama said that if he is the nominee he will guarantee that the Michigan delegation is seated at the convention.
The Senator unveiled a manufacturing agenda aiming to fuel innovation and boost the economy. Obama, wearing a flag pin, spent his morning meeting with workers and touring the Chrysler Stamping Plant in Sterling Heights, an attempt to woo key working class voters.
Obama focused all his criticisms in opening remarks on the presumed Republican candidate John McCain, “When John McCain came to Michigan in January and said that we couldn’t bring back all the jobs that we couldn’t bring back all the jobs that had been lost back to America, he was right. We can’t bring back every single job. But where he’s wrong was in suggesting that there’s nothing we can do to replace those jobs or create new ones.”
Watch video of Obama knocking McCain and discussing his job policy HERE.
Obama continued to tie McCain to George Bush’s policies of the last eight years – saying that’s “essentially giving up.”
The McCain camp released a statement today refutting Obama’s claims.
"Senator Obama launched a partisan-style attack questioning John McCain’s straight talk, without providing any evidence of his own leadership or experience on the issues that are hurting Michigan and states like it,” Tucker Bounds, McCain spokesman said in a paper statement.