Obama message shifts, observers say

April 28, 2008 at 9:33 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS, April 28 (UPI) -- Sen. Barack Obama's campaign speeches in Indiana now focus on specific economic matters, a shift from his message of hope, observers said.

The shift could indicate the Democratic presidential candidate's message of hope and change may not be reaching voters more concerned with nuts-and-bolts issues such as jobs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Polls indicate Obama, D-Ill., is in a dead heat with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in Indiana as voters prepare for the state's May 6 primary.

Advisers said Obama's new message isn't in response to losses in Ohio and Pennsylvania -- both hit hard by job losses and with lots of blue-collar workers -- but because of the growing importance of the economy in the election, the Journal said.

The candidate's communications director, Robert Gibbs, said Obama "will focus on making sure people know what (change) means, and what that means specifically for them."

During the weekend, Obama dismissed calls from the Clinton campaign for a one-on-one, 90-minute debate without a moderator.

"I'm not ducking. We've had 21" debates, Obama said on "Fox News Sunday."

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