WAUKESHA, WISC. -- In the past couple of days, Barack Obama's campaign has maintained that he performs better in states where voters get to know him. That was clearly Obama's approach in Wisconsin today, where he addressed United Auto Workers members at a General Motors plant in Janesville and suburban voters in Waukesha.
He told the UAW workers that he wants to talk to them about the economy "from the heart." Obama described the U.S. economy as being on the brink of a recession, blaming it largely on the housing crisis and the "failure of the leadership and imagination in Washington."
"At a time like this, it's no wonder that the mortgage crisis was the straw that broke the camel's back," Obama said.
Obama repeatedly mentioned Hillary Clinton during his speech, frequently using her name during criticisms of George Bush and John McCain. Obama used phrases such as, "politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should've never been authorized" or "neither George Bush nor Hillary Clinton had that kind of immediate, broad-based relief in their original stimulus proposals."
Obama's most glaring criticism of Clinton was on NAFTA, an issue that he says she has shifted positions on.
"You know, in the years after her husband signed NAFTA, Senator Clinton would go around talking about how great it was and how many benefits it would bring," Obama said, "Now that she's running for President, she says we need a timeout on trade. No one knows when this timeout will end. Maybe after the election."
In Waukesha, located in a predominantly Republican area, Obama went after John McCain's economic policy and foreign policy.
"If you want the same as we've had the last seven years, then I think John McCain is going to be a great choice. But if you think that we need something new, if you think that we need to restore fairness to our economy, if you think that we need a smarter foreign policy, then I hope that you will stand with me and vote for me," Obama said.
Meantime, Obama received the endorsement of David Wilhelm, President Bill Clinton's campaign manager in 1992. Wilhelm, who will be involved in the Ohio campaign, said "Ohio could be the state that propels him to the nomination."
Also, Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, told reporters this morning that he believes Hillary Clinton will not be able to catch up to Obama's pledged delegate lead. He said Clinton would have to "win big" in Ohio and Texas in order to close the delegate gap.