Obama Says Economy, Iraq Are Top Issues

Energy And Health Care Follow Ending The War And Dealing With The Wall St. Meltdown As Key Priorities

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60 Minutes spoke with Sen. Obama on Wednesday in Elko, Nev., a heavily Republican mining town of less than 20,000 people in a remote corner of this battle ground state. The town is lined with casinos, Basque restaurants, and legal brothels. It is not the kind of place you would expect to find a presidential candidate with 47 days left till the election. But Obama has been here three times, hoping to scrounge a few thousand votes that could help him carry Nevada and put him in the White House. The election is that close.

"John McCain actually said that if he's president, he'll take on and I quote, the ol' boys network in Washington. I am not making this up. This is someone who's been in Congress for 26 years The ol' boy network? In the McCain campaign, that's called a staff meeting. Come on," Obama told the crowd in Elko.

The Wall Street debacle had stalled the post-convention momentum of Sen. McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, and brought Obama's strongest issue, the economy, back to center stage. And Obama is trying everything he can to keep it there.

Kroft: This is the most aggressive speech I've seen you give…in a while.

Obama: Right.

Kroft: What changed?

Obama: Well, partly, it's just, we're getting closer to the election. Partly, as you will recall, we, for several weeks, were putting up with a lot of silliness from the other side. Britney Spears ads, we were talking about lipstick and pigs, and one of the things that we felt very strongly was that we had to make the contrast between John McCain's economic agenda and ours very clear.

Kroft: You've been running for 18 months on the topic of change.

Kroft: I mean, they've gotten some traction.

Obama: Right.

Kroft: Particularly with women. Last time I talked to you, Sarah Palin was a name.

Kroft: How did she change the race?

Obama: You know, look. She's a skilled politician. I think she was an unexpected choice, which is always fascinating for the media. She sort of came out of nowhere. And so, it gave, I think, the McCain campaign some energy, a boost. Over time, people want to know, what are the policies? And the policies of John McCain haven't changed since Sarah Palin was named as the vice-presidential candidate.

With that, he waded back in the crowd to try and find the person who was yelling at him. It turned out to be an African-American woman. She wanted to tell Obama that she had just lost her husband of 70 years, and that he tried to live long enough to vote for him.