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Obama's Lean and Hungry Voter Outreach

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) eats a hearty breakfast alongside other diners at the Four Seasons family restaurant in Greenwood, Ind., May 6, 2008. (Reuters)

By Shailagh Murray
INDIANAPOLIS -- Sen. Barack Obama is still short of the 2,025 delegates he needs to win the Democratic nomination, but his daily calorie intake is getting there.

Despite the stress, the lack of exercise and the horrid airplane food, the Illinois senator has actually lost weight as the campaign drags on. But in the past few days he has eaten like a horse.

On Monday, Obama packed in eggs, hash browns, biscuits, pound cake and chicken wings. He stopped by the Four Seasons Family Restaurant in Greenwood, Ind., early this morning and tucked into a ham and feta "house" omelet and hash browns at the counter. "I'm trying to fatten up," he explained. "They give me five minutes to eat." He turned to 59-year-old Rick Jones, who was eating next to him. "It's true. I've lost about 7 or 8 pounds."

Chatting with reporters at the restaurant, Obama shared a few thoughts on election day. "We campaigned hard and well in this state." Nodding to Jones, he added he had "met wonderful people like this gentleman right here. And I think it's going to be close. I don't think anybody knows exactly what's going to happen. But, as usual, I'm seeing a lot of enthusiasm among the voters."

Later, outside an Indianapolis polling station, Obama addressed his blue-collar voter struggles. "It's really a mixed bag,'' he said. "There've been some states where we have won the blue-collar vote. Wisconsin. We won it in Iowa. We won it in Minnesota. Then there are other states where we've not done so well, mainly because people are much more familiar with Senator Clinton and President Clinton and their track record."

"President Obama!" called out Tracie Nelson, 37, a health-care recruiter from Indianapolis. "That has a ring to it, doesn't it?'' Obama said as he posed with Nelson for a photo.

Obama arrived at the Greenwood restaurant about 7:40 a.m. and received a mixed response. One man waved the senator away from his table, later telling the pool reporter on the scene that "I can't stand him. He's a Muslim. He's not even pro-American as far as I'm concerned."

At another table, a group of regulars dubbed the "Johnson County Roundtable" greeted Obama warmly. He asked what they'd been discussing. "It's time we made things better,'' one man replied. That lit up the candidate. "I know! How we going to do that?''

Another customer handed Obama his bill. "This will seal the thing," he said as Obama paid it. One diner sold by Obama was his countermate, Jones. "I've eaten breakfast every morning here for 20 years in this seat. I walk up this morning, I had no idea what was going on," he said. A custom home builder, Jones later said he nearly finished reading Obama's book, "Dreams from my Father.'' Asked who he planned to vote for, Jones said, "The person sitting next to me.''

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 6, 2008; 1:35 PM ET
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