Obama makes pitch to hard-hats, shift workers

May 6, 2008

obama-greets-workers.jpgINDIANAPOLIS – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, seeking to erode rival Hillary Clinton’s edge with blue-collar workers, made a personal pitch for their support on the eve of Tuesday’s Indiana and North Carolina primaries.

“How is everybody?” Obama asked a group of workers in hard hats at a construction site on Monday morning in Evansville, Indiana, where he chatted with them about health care and gasoline costs.

After a town hall session in North Carolina and a big evening rally in Indiana, Obama  stopped by a car parts plant in Indianapolis at midnight to greet workers coming off the night shift. He told them he faced a close race with Clinton and asked for their votes. But Frank Spiceland, 29, a machinist at the plant, which employs 600 Ford Motor Company employees and 600 from Automotive Components Holdings, asked Obama to help save his job.

The factory is scheduled to close in 2010. Many of the Ford employees, such as Spiceland, may be able to transfer to another plant if they want to. Others will be laid off.

“I asked him if he could help keep the plant open as long as possible,” said Spiceland, who added the chance to meet the Illinois senator one-on-one had persuaded him to vote for Obama, even though he was previously undecided.

Clinton’s strong base of support with union workers and other working-class voters helped deliver solid victories to her in the two big industrial states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. She is hoping her strength with that demographic group will boost her chances in Indiana.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.


Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama greets shift workers at Indianapolis plant)

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