With the party convention approaching and probable Republican opponent U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., hanging tough, party leaders are urging the senator from Illinois to stop using "hope" as a generic campaign mantra and move out in front of key economic issues, The New York Times reported Sunday.
"I particularly hope he strengthens his economic message -- even Senator Obama can speak more clearly and specifically about the kitchen-table, bread-and-butter issues like high energy costs," Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland told the Times. "It's fine to tell people about hope and change, but you have to have plenty of concrete, pragmatic ideas that bring hope and change to life."
The leaders also say Obama has yet to woo supporters of former candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., or to answer concerns about his experience.
"The one area he still needs credibility in is experience, and picking an Evan Bayh or a Joe Biden as vice president would help a lot with that," John Breaux, a former Democratic senator from Louisiana, told the newspaper.