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In Massachusetts, Economy Hits Home

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. -- It's hard to feel further from Wall Street out here on the rails -- as we roll past the lush green and picturesque towns in Western Massachusetts.

But the economic turmoil that's rocking so much of the country is evident -- in the empty, rusting buildings that dot the landscape, and mostly in the conversations we have when we climb off the train.

Even in gorgeous Stockbridge -- a liberal enclave, with a tourist economy that hasn't been hit the same way so many other parts of the country have -- the unease is real.

I commented to Connie Montgomery, a retiree who lives in Stockbridge, about how far we felt from Wall Street on a perfect day in this Norman Rockwell town -- as we got ready for a brief concert featuring James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma.

"Oh yeah -- but we're not," Montgomery said. "There's a lot of retired people who depend on investments, and it's just very shaky."

Montgomery is a registered independent who said she hasn't made up her mind yet.

One of the striking things talking to voters is how -- like the candidates -- everyone wants change, but there's broad disagreement about what that means.

"We've already experienced the other group that's already in there, so we need somebody new," said Obama supporter Linda Lloyd, of Hardwick, Mass.

Counters Ruth Hiller, of Paxton, Mass.: "I want the box that says none of the above. I'm not happy with either one. . . . Everybody's screaming change -- tell me exactly what that means."

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