OREGON, OHIO — On Shrewsbury Street in the working-class Lincoln Green section of Holland, Ohio, Sunday afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., knocked on some doors to chat with voters in this battleground state where polls have him and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., neck and neck.
Sue Sekel, a 43-year old health care worker wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt with the words "Las Vegas" written in a Tommy Hilfiger-like pattern, told Obama she’d voted early.
She also said Sunday was “the one day I come home to clean ceiling fans and look like crap, and then this happens.”
Clutching cameras, three teenage girls raced to him from across the street, with no shoes on.
“Where are your shoes?” Obama asked them.
He took photos with them, and others, shaking hands, talking about the economy.
The mother of one of the girls, Shelly Kretz, stood on the periphery of the group while snapshots were being taken.
“Mom, you look good. C’mon,” Obama said to her.
Kretz, a 38-year-old employee of Proctor & Gamble, reluctantly joined the group for a photo. Later, she told reporters that she’d been on the fence, but she liked Obama’s answers to her neighbors’ questions.
“It’s really awesome that he takes the time to talk to the middle class and answer questions,” she said. Kretz said her brothers were also there, and had also been converted by Obama’s appearance this afternoon.
Obama approached another house but was warned by one neighbor about two amorous dogs.
“Oh, is that right?" Obama asked. "So I don’t want to get too close, huh? They might start, they might start."
The dogs began canoodling with one another.
"Yeah, they seem like they enjoy themselves," Obama said. He then told the dogs, "Alright, don’t do anything in front of the cameras that would be inappropriate."
He reached down to pet them, scratching a small black dog behind its ears.
“Do you believe in the American dream?” a local plumber asked.
Obama said he did.
"I’m being taxed more and more for fulfilling the American dream,” the man said, in comments interpreted by reporters as a reference to the Democrat’s proposal to increase income taxes on those making $200,000 or more a year.
Obama recited his now-familiar talking points about 95 percent of the American people would get a tax cut under his plan.
The plumber did not seem convinced.
As Obama left the man, he said, "I’ve got to go prepare for this debate, but that was pretty good practice."