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And Now, Indiana

By Shailagh Murray
NEW ALBANY, Ind. - It's all about Indiana. Even Barack Obama says as much.

"Now it's up to you, Indiana," Obama told a crowd in Evansville, after fleeing Pennsylvania on primary night. At a New Albany town hall this afternoon, he told supporters, "You have the opportunity to choose who your standard bearer will be." Local campaign organizer Randy Stumler introduced Obama in New Albany and urged the audience, "It's up to us to make the change."

Speaking to reporters after the event, Obama said he saw key differences between Indiana and Pennsylvania. For one, his home state of Illinois is right next door. "People are a little more familiar here with me in Indiana," he said. He isn't starting off 20 points down, as he did in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.

He conceded that a run of gaffes and other unwelcome developments made his climb in Pennsylvania all the steeper. "We were 20 points behind before the Reverend Wright controversy, we were 20 points behind before my bitter comments, we were 20 points behind when we had momentum and everybody here was talking about how we were going to be locking up the nomination," Obama said.

But there were some bright spots in his 10-point Tuesday loss, Obama pointed out. "Among all these groups that people have been focused on, you know, blue collar workers or, you know, white working class folks, we did better in Pennsylvania than we did in Ohio," he told reporters. "So we're continually making progress. We haven't gone backwards. We're actually going forwards."

Obama also noted that age may be a bigger factor than class, in defining Democrats who remain resistant to him. The good news for him is that Indiana is a younger state than Pennsylvania. "The problem is that, to the extent there is a problem, is that the older voters are very loyal to Senator Clinton. And I think, you know, part of that is they've got a track record of voting for not just Senator Clinton but also her husband," he said. He needs to communicate more effectively with elderly voters, Obama has concluded. "Then I think that we will end up doing very well here in Indiana," the senator said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 23, 2008; 7:15 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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