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Obama Returns to a More Traditional Mode of Campaigning

Sen. Barack Obama speaks prior to participating in a roundtable discussion on predatory lending with, from second from left: Marvin Weatherspoon, Rosa Figueroa, Elizabeth Warren and Ola Horton, June 11,2008, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. (Associated Press)

By Perry Bacon Jr.
CHICAGO -- Barack Obama has entered a new phase of his campaign that won't involve his aides sending out crowd size estimates: The senator from Illinois is now emphasizing solutions, instead of speeches, as his old rival Hillary Clinton had long called for him to do.

"We're going to have a conversation," Obama declared at the Illinois Institute of Technology here, invoking the word Clinton used to start her campaign.

At an event to emphasize the problem of credit care debt, he sat at at table with just three Chicago residents as they discussed their high debt, some of which they blamed on unfair practices by credit card companies. Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor who studies creditors, also talked about the issue with the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Obama called for a rating system for credit cards and a "Credit Card Bill of Rights" to protect consumers. "Many more Americans aren't falling into debt because they make an irresponsible decision -- they're falling into debt because credit card companies are pushing them over the edge," he said.

After downplaying the role of policy in his primary contest with Clinton, Obama for the last three days has spoken to crowds that are much smaller than he has become known for, with his audience today numbering just around two dozen people (plus reporters). His remarks have been loaded with details about his plans to cut taxes for middle class, reduce the prices of health care, college and gas and help people and the country overall with its debt.

Clinton held many of these kind of events during the primary season and Democratic nominee John Kerry did four years ago, as well.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 11, 2008; 1:23 PM ET
Categories:  On the Issues  
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Jake, you tell it like it is. This is just another example of the incompetent poor not learning to fend for themselves, like the old american adage "teach a man to fish, he'll only feed for a day"

Posted by: Republican and proud | June 18, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Hey Jake, If you really think that one out of 6 people are losing their homes because they would rather buy beer, you are completely UnAmerican. Go find people you believe in. Americans are losign their homes because a system failed them. We were told that we would not be prayed on by mortgage lenders, but guess what? We were lied to. All mortgage lending contracts are not complicitly fraudulent. I put $85,000 on a house and still ended up with a predatory loan. I barely squaked out of it. Reasons you may want to consider: The original mortgage company I had got bought out, so the new bank could never "see" what I was talking about when I asked why my loan amount soared to a payment I could not afford. It wasn't on their screen. The mortgage company adidn't bother to report my payment to Experian, and the other crdit reporting companies, so I couldn't get the qualifications to refinance. I could never find anyone to give me an accoutning of my loan becuase it was merged from other records. This went on and on and I finally sold my house, thankfully, and got little back. There are many fraudulent tactics other than just no verification loans out there. Check your facts.

Posted by: Shannon | June 12, 2008 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Christopher London:
Ross Perot chickened out during his campaign, so he is not deserving to knock McCain's fortitude. McCain sacrificed for the USA, and those who knock his service are ***holes.

Posted by: JC Tennessee | June 12, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

jay and dan you is you just not fair you people are so bad ,,john mcsane is the fraud is is simple bush second..and we the people will paid the ... msane will have more war with iran etc.i dont see u putting msane down.

Posted by: jan | June 11, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

You know Obama, my mortgage is really hard to afford right now because I am spending too much money on other things like vehicles and beer and vacations and stuff. Can you make those mean ole mortgage lenders give me a break? Oh who cares that I'm stupid and irresponsible and screwed myself by overextending and living beyond my means, while most people have paid their bills on time and are being responsible adults!!

Posted by: Jake | June 11, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SeekTheTruth | June 11, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Ross Perot, well regarded as s a straight shooter, like him or not, was an early benefactor of John McCain. Perot has labeled McCain an opportunistic fraud who seeks the limelight. John McCain is a Rhinestone War Hero. Before this race is over we will no longer have to question John McCain's manhood because it will be clear to all that the "Fiction" of McCain's legacy is a greater illusion than his testicular fortitude. WAR HEROES do not need to run around telling anyone and everyone that they can find how how damn heroic that they are. Do they? Ever listen to Bruce Springsteen's Song Glory Days? Heroes do not live to tell tall tales. Myths do. Heroes die. Liars never tell you how they graduated 4th from the bottom of their class at the Naval Academy, how their legacy admission is the only reason they were not expelled, how they were never promoted to Admiral because they spent most of their time in a drunken stupor, skirt chasing and crashing aircraft. McCain is as fictional as McHale's Navy, the 1960's TV show. Google it.

Posted by: Christopher London | June 11, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah sure - that is like him blame someone else for your problems -- that is not to say that the credit card companies are not part of the problem - but people have to take ownership of their own issues - BHO is a leftist liberal product of corrupt Chicago politics who hypocritically preaches all kinds of platitudes for others but in his public life has failed to demonstrate with his own actions. What happened to his "Old Uncle Wright"- dumped! - His church of 20 years - dumped! A real steady guy. He will do and say whatever it takes to get the prize. The history of his political rise in Chicago is ugly. His record in the Illinois legislature and later in the US Senate contains absolutely nothing but a record of doing what is politically expedient. BHO is a product of "Old Line Politics". :"Change":- into what? . Judge a man by his actions not his words

Posted by: Jim | June 11, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Whether Obama's speaking to large crowds or small, he's got ideas about actually solving our problems rather unlike the other guy. Mccain seems only to able to push forever war and the Bush created status quo is fine. I'd rather listen to Obama on his worst day rather than Mccain on his best.

Posted by: Suzn | June 11, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse


You know your statement could just about sum up the mortgage crisis (which republicans are drooling over themselves to bail the banks out of, but not the people).

This is exactly why Obama is focusing on this now - the last thing we all need next year is the "credit crisis" to be the next big news item, further crippling our economy.

Obviously all of these lending industries are willing to throw money around just to push their numbers up, not thinking about the fact that their borrowers will never be able to pay them back. It's time to start regulating them.

Posted by: Franklin | June 11, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Many people are against something that benefits someone else..until they are in that situation. They hate free heath care until they loose their job, they hate lawyers until they are in trouble, they hate welfare..until they cannot find a new job before unemployment runs out. Its amazing how some people are ...not stupid now..then they try to tell you not climb a tree to see the view ...becasue you will fall..they are so sure...and prefer to stay on the ground ..pulling you down ..not wanting you to at least have a try get up there..simply amazing

Posted by: John | June 11, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama said:
" "Many more Americans aren't falling into debt because they make an irresponsible decision -- they're falling into debt because credit card companies are pushing them over the edge, "

Yeah, right. It's the credit company's fault I indulged and spent money I didn't
have. Those devils need to be regulated by the Government. This Obama dude will fix 'em. He's my man.

Posted by: JC Tennessee | June 11, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I care about what Obama plans to do, not how he discussed it. I've watched him on c-span and in interviews and speeches and pressing flesh, and the guy speaks well. He's got charisma.

Unfortunately, on the tube, there's hours of analysis of how a politician discussed an issue, and whether they've got charisma, but much less analysis of what they had to say (excepting possibly c-span channel).

It's a pain to get a link to an article that overinterprets what a candidate did as part of campaign marketing and leaves out the substance of their position. How about a few hyperlinks, at least? This is not TV. I can read a summary blurb then get into the substance of a discussion just by reading lower on the page. All you need to do is put the content there.

"Go visit the candidate's website", might be a response, which would be pathetic, but in that case, how about a hyperlink?

Hopefully your take on what to write is not decided democratically. Thank you for providing a brief summary of Obama's ideas to help people deal with debt. Some more detail and some comparisons with other candidate's positions would have been helpful. Am I supposed to google for that information?

Because that could work, too.

Posted by: Noah | June 11, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

To say that McCain is another Bush is a joke... he is the most liberal canidate the republicans could come up with. i don't like him but he's more on the ball then Obama,

Posted by: Gary | June 11, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Yes, very seriously a fraud... just too bad the media blinds you...

Posted by: Dan | June 11, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

You are fooling yourself if you think the war is the problem... talk to the men doing the fightingm, they will tell you we are doing the right thing... as long as we keep them busy over there they will not be over here, believe it or not it will happen, why do you think Iran doesn't want us over there, it's because they want to take over Iraq... We are not over there for oil or any such thing, quit lisening to the media, they are left of left wing... yikes... OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!

Posted by: Ron | June 11, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The Baptist Preacher is on a roll. He's the choice of inexperienced colledge kids (parents paying the colledge fees) and blacks. Experience? No problem, the dude has charisma. Baggage? Hey... those were not the dudes he knew.. Guts? Hey.. he just didn't want to appear a woman-basher. $2000 tax breaks? Well Bush bought his way in first, didn't he? Obama light, the voice of change - with the wind, that is.

Posted by: JC Tennessee | June 11, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should compare issues and where each candidate stand ..and then decide who you would vote for. We should decide if we want the chief Rep for the USA to be a Havard graduate or 894th out of 899 in his class.
Should our president be computer represent the greates country on earth?

Posted by: John | June 11, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

That post was just completely full of fail. The war is the problem. We should not have gone in the first place and we should not be there now. Your assertion that 'they will come here with their car bombs' is patently absurd. If the US would cease meddling in the affairs of other sovereign nations and propping up brutal, totalitarian regimes and bring our troops home we would have plent of defense agains a few peasants with pipe bombs.
I am not even a fan of Obama and I know enough about his platform to understand that his goal is to lower taxes on the largest demograpic (the Middle Class), repeal the tax breaks for the top 4% income earners and yes, regrettably, he has a misguided health care bill. Given the current political climate without that nod to the poor no democrat stood a chance for the nomination.
fraud? seriously?

Posted by: Jer | June 11, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Be afraid be very very afraid...

Posted by: Dean | June 11, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The only "change" Obama wants is the change in your pocket... run as fast and as far away from this guy as you can...

Posted by: Jim | June 11, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure there is a right answer, but there has to be something better than another Bush. The war is a large problem, we need that money at home and not in a war based on oil or opium fields. As far as car bombs in the USA, I think that is overstating it a bit and reflects more of the republican terror tactics we are trying to move away from. As for the credit card issues, I think there are a whole lot of ill informed and desperate people out there... As for our American way of life ending...I believe this is true...we can no longer be so arrogant.

Posted by: Justin | June 11, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

JC, I agree.... why should the government (i.e. tax payers) have to bail out the stupid people who stretched themselves too thin? I have about 10 different credit cards right now (and have had several for over 10 years) and I have barely ever had to pay ANY interest EVER because I pay the full balance every month. Actually, on numerous cards over the years I have done several 0% balance transfers right to my money market account (which currently makes 3.2% for me) with no fees, and have ended up MAKING MONEY off of credit card companies!! Also, I have a BP Visa right now that gives me 5% cash back for all BP gas purchases!! And I NEVER pay interest on the balances... I have put my credit cards to work for ME, mainly because I read the fine print, paid my bills ON TIME, and didn't overextend!!

Posted by: Jake | June 11, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Ha! His principles are fiction. His speeches are convenient. His policies tailored to the audience. Look to his actions, they betray a man who lies. Lies make up Obama.

Posted by: maggie | June 11, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Sandbox, English is the only language that has more exceptions than rules. Its a pity that it is adopted in so many countries.

Posted by: hmm | June 11, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama's record shows us he makes government bigger, spends money, and raises taxes big time... do not fool yourselfs by his double talk... i'm not a big fan of McCain but he is heads and shoulders better then Obama...

Posted by: Dan | June 11, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The idea that any significant number of voters are swayed by in personal contact is idiocy. (To reach even 10% of the voters he got in the primaries he would have had to speak to 15,000 a day during the from January though May. Despite all those dramatic pictures, he didn't even come close.) The campaign is about presenting a picture for television and the sight of Obama talking to individual voters one-on-one is the picture the campaign wants to present at this time. Any other interpretation is just silly.

Posted by: Phrank | June 11, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Government run healthcare will cost lives, lower the standard of healthcare, and cost even more by taxing, taxing, taxing... do your homework!

Posted by: Dan | June 11, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

uh sandbox, i wonder if "irony" is a word that is known to you... hahahaha

Posted by: peabody3000 | June 11, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

You know what I see when he gets up close and personal....... He understands people's pain and he has ideas to fix that pain, I think that's better than feeling their pain :P

Do you want someone that feels your pain or someone that can fix that pain? I choose fix it and vote Obama ....... McCain will change absolutely nothing so if you would elect Bush again vote for him, I personally think we can do better and we MUST

Posted by: Brad | June 11, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

hey buddy, healthcare already costs us trillions

Posted by: jason | June 11, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama will take this country to all time lows... big taxes, big government, health care that will cost us billions... the war is not the problem people, if he pulls us out they will get stronger and come to the US with their car bombs and worse... save innocent lives and do not vote for this fraud...

Posted by: Dan | June 11, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Steve Mcqueen, are you retarded or lack the ability to type. Even if what you were trying to say made any sense, it would still be lost among a jumble of poorly chosen words. Learn English before you discuss a topic in the language.

Posted by: Sandbox | June 11, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. - Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: Randy | June 11, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

An injured friend is the bitterest of foes. - Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: Randy | June 11, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Why all the little swipes at Obama throughout the article?

Why not simply report the news, instead of interjecting innuendo at every step.

Obama does it all: big rally, townhall setting, policy, big brush.. you name it. He's the best around, and you need to live with it.. like it or not.

Posted by: Neil | June 11, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Jay wrote (1:41 pm):

"Getting up close and personal with voters is not Obama's strength"

Jay, you are kind of ill-informed and may I suggest putting down the koolaid for a second. In fact, if you look at over a years worth of polling data for the primaries, you'll see one distinct trend, the minute Obama starts spending lots of "face time" in a state, the numbers start to move in his direction. Even in states that he lost like PA, OH, and TX when he started campaigning heavily in person, Sen Clintons huge margins in the polls began to slip.

In other words, the belief he isn't good up close was just a fantasy put out there by Clinton and now McCain so that they can sleep at night thinking he was "vulnerable". The truth is, the last thing McCain really wants Obama doing is having the time to devote all his energy to small gathers, he's going to turn a lot of red territory purple.

Posted by: tlhwraith | June 11, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

your are done...dollars keeps falling, oil prices goes up.
Obama wont be able to do anything, following the American tradition, the democrats will have to pay for the war caused by the republican, or a better word for them both. Big Business.
It's a shame really, coz he it's looks like he might have principals this one...

Posted by: Steve Mcqueen | June 11, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Please Mister Big Government help me, because I am too stupid to read an offer letter or understand that at some point I might have to pay some money back with interest.

PS .. increase the rates and fees on those less stupid to bail be out.

Thank you very much

Posted by: JC | June 11, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Jay...I think you speaking about McCain and not Obama.

Perry Bacon Jr., I know the Democratic campaign season has been long and tenuous but let's not forget Obama was talking about "bread and butter" issues at the start of his campaign and at the end of the primary season. Unfortunately, journalists and news organizations like yourself focused on Obama's high-soaring speeches and the enormous crowds because those type of stories sell better!

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | June 11, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Dan Balz, or another of the controversy-mondering reporters at the Washington Post, can come up with a story that says these events show that Obama is doing these smaller events because:

1) One white woman won't vote for him, and therefore ALL white people won't vote for him
2) His 50-State Strategy means he can no longer afford to do big events
3) John McCain is a maverick
4) Someone who once had a meeting with Obama, or was in the same building at the same time with him, got a speeding ticket the very same week.

But whatever you do, don't report on the fact that this morning John McCain accidentally accurately stated his position on Iraq, which is that he wants troops stationed there for decades.

Posted by: Kelly | June 11, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Getting up close and personal with voters is not Obama's strength. He is good with teleprompters and big speeches, but not up close with voters. Everytime I see him doing this, I cringe because he looks like he's not particularly empathetic or convincing that he feels people's "pain." It's just not working for him. He should stick to teleprompters.

Posted by: Jay | June 11, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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