More than 3,500 Obama-Biden supporters gathered downtown Minneapolis on Friday to hear Barack Obama’s plan for the economy. The rally took place as McCain addressed thousands of supporters in Blaine.
Bill Clinton’s phrase “It’s the economy, stupid!” seems to have resonated with the Obama-Biden campaign as it tries to persuade voters Obama has a viable plan to fix the economy. The rally is an indicator of the campaign’s efforts to hone its message as economic woes on Wall Street and across America deepen. Speakers R.T Rybak, Majority House leader Margaret Anderson Kelliher, and Representative Keith Ellison stuck close to Obama’s economic plan.
Nick Kimball, spokesman for the Obama campaign in Minnesota, said there has been a shift in voters’ concerns as the economy weakens. “We’re having conversations with about 10,000 a night through door knocking and phone calls,” Kimball said. “It’s very clear that people are looking for details about the eocnomy and they want to know exactly what the candidates are going to do about this crisis we’re in.”
Obama’s five-point plan consists of providing tax breaks for the middle class, bringing a responsible end to the war in Iraq, regulating Wall Street, investing in renewable energy sources, and cracking down on lobbyists. How specifically Obama and Biden will accomplish these was not the focus of Friday’s rally, but the five points appeared frequently and visually. During one speech five supporters held up poster boards representing each point.
Carol Bouska, an Obama supporter, said the rally was refreshing for its focus on a single issue rather than personality or celebrity. “The campaigns have become about style over substance, and we have to get back to the issues,” Bouska said, “It was really good to be at the rally because even though Obama and Biden weren’t there, there were a lot of people gathered there because they actually care about the economy.”