Wednesday August 20, 2008
"Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) asked the crowd. "Are you better off than you were eight years ago?"
The answer from the hundreds of Obama supporters gathered Wednesday night at Lynchburg's E.C. Glass High School was resounding.
"We need a change in this world and I think mostly about the young kids and especially my granddaughter," said Obama supporter Delores Nelson. "I think we need a big change for the young folks as well as the older folks."
"I think he's galvanized not only whites and blacks but people across political lines and I think he's the candidate going into the future," added Lynchburg resident James Tharrington.
Obama's making a concerted effort in Virginia with a 48-hour blitz through the commonwealth that's got him teaming up with the state's most prominent Democrats.
The reason is pretty obvious; recent polling in the state has fallen well within the margin of error, meaning Obama and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain are essentially neck and neck in the race for Virginia's 13 electoral votes.
Still, Obama's supporters in Lynchburg say this election is a referndum on him, not on McCain or President Bush.
"It really brings tears to my eyes because I never thought I would live to see this happen in Lynchburg," Nelson explained. "This is a great opportunity for everybody to come out and make a change in this world."
"I think Obama still has a lot of work to do. We don't want to take anything for granted," Tharrington agreed. "I think it's not so much that I'm anti-McCain, I'm just pro-Obama. He represents change that we all can believe in...I think he's leading a legacy for our children's children and that's what I'm looking forward to; not just the next four or eight years but where are we going to be 20 years down the road."
As this Virginia swing wraps up Thursday, the focus in the Obama campaign now turns squarely to selection of a Vice Presidential nominee. Newsweek magazine reports the nominee could be notified as early as Thursday afternoon and if that's the case, one person on Obama's short list won't need a phone call. The Illinois senator expected to spend much of Thursday touring the commonwealth with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.