Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, faced a raucous crowd here in Berea, Ohio. It started with a young man on one of the press platforms who demanded that all 2,700 people in the room recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Obama, once he made out what the man was saying, complied and led the pledge, thanking the man afterwards, defusing what could have been an ugly scene.
One man in the audience during the town hall asked Obama how he would fight the war of words.
"Our politics has gotten so – ah – nasty – that’s the word I was looking for," said Obama. "But not just nasty, also cynical and manipulative, right? Where we say things that we don’t mean.
"So John McCain says ‘Barack would rather lose the war to win an election’ – he just said something like that," Obama continued. "You know, despite the fact that if we had followed my recommendation not to go into the war in Iraq we would have about an extra trillion dollars to rebuild our economy, we would have been on the path of energy independence, we would have finished the job in Afghanistan and gone after al Qaeda.
"So I’m happy to have a battle of words because I’ve got facts on my side," he concluded. "I’ve got truth on my side! I fear no man when I’ve got truth on my side!"
The crowd cheered, revival-style.
- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller