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Democrats Make Final Pa. Push; McCain Launches Tour

April 21, 2008 at 6:10 PM EDT
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Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama crisscrossed Pennsylvania Monday in a final attempt to sway Keystone state voters before Tuesday's Democratic primary, while presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain spoke in Selma, Al., on the first day of his five-day tour of economically struggling communities.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The countdown to tomorrow’s Democratic primary has begun, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each made one last swing across Pennsylvania today.

Senator Barack Obama began his day with a breakfast of waffles and sausage in Scranton, sitting beside Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, his senior-most supporter in the state. There at the Glider Diner, Obama found one of the few Pennsylvanians not paying attention to the primary race.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: You want the sausage? No? You want a waffle? No? You want your mommy? Oh, you’re cool. I think we better get going. I think we’re running late.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But Obama had to eat and run, as both he and his opponent made yet another race across the state.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), New York: Now we need to really bear down. The last day is here.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Hillary Clinton was also in Scranton this morning. Her father was born there of Welsh immigrants who arrived in the 1880s.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: We all know what’s at stake. You know, the stakes are huge.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: We figured it might be nice to get outside.

JUDY WOODRUFF: By early afternoon, Senator Obama was in Blue Bell, outside Philadelphia, holding a small question-and-answer session at a community college.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: All of us have believed that we need to provide universal health care in one form or another. All of us I think have talked about the need to deal with global warming in a way that also encourages job creation through green jobs and green technology.

All of us have talked about the importance of making college more affordable. But not all of us have talked about the need to change how Washington works.

VOTER: How will you do the uniting? And how do you see the first 100 days of your presidency?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Day one, I won’t go through the whole 100, but…

Day one is to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security apparatus — and I’ve been saying this for a year — to call them in and give them a new mission, which is we’re going to set a timetable for withdrawal out of Iraq.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The candidates traded televised barbs over the weekend on the topics of health care and political influence. Obama responded to a Clinton ad alleging he has ties to corporate lobbyists.

TV NARRATOR: Barack Obama doesn’t take money from special interest PACs or Washington lobbyists, not one dime.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Today, Senator Clinton unveiled a final ad that invoked Pearl Harbor and Osama bin Laden in questioning her rival’s readiness for command.

TV NARRATOR: Harry Truman said it best: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Who do you think has what it takes?

JUDY WOODRUFF: This afternoon, Senator Clinton was in Pittsburgh with her husband, the former president, at a rally in Market Square.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: You want a president again who actually gets up every morning, thinks about you, your jobs, your families, your health care, your education, and your futures, and then works to bring our country together in order to solve our problems.

I have been very specific in this campaign about what I would do. We have to build things in America. We may not build exactly what we built 25, 50 or 100 years ago, but we need to still be a manufacturing nation, because I don’t think a country that doesn’t make things can remain strong and vibrant and leading in the global economy.

And I’m excited by this. When you think about what a previous generation of Americans did with the space race, we can do the same by declaring energy independence.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Obama, too, was scheduled to appear today in the Steel City at the University of Pittsburgh for an evening event, which was expected to draw a capacity crowd of close to 15,000.

Meanwhile, the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, spent the day in Alabama, where he launched a five-day tour of economically struggling communities. He spoke to a crowd of about 100 people in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of civil rights clashes in Selma.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: Look, we’re going to have huge differences here. We’ve got Senator Obama and Senator Clinton who want to raise your taxes. My friends, if you want someone to raise your taxes, fine. I want to lower your taxes.

If you want someone who’s going to set a date for withdrawal from Iraq and thereby chaos ensues, then that’s your choice.

If you want the families to make your choice about health care in America, which is my choice, then — is what my path, or you want the government to make the choices, such as Senator Clinton and Senator Obama want.

We’ll have great differences, and we’ll let the American people decide. And it’ll all be about a fundamental philosophy as whether we think people should decide for themselves or government should decide for them. I’m confident I can prevail in that debate.

JUDY WOODRUFF: McCain has already secured enough delegates for his party’s nomination, so he is not actively campaigning for tomorrow’s Pennsylvania primary.

We’ll devote the rest of the program tonight to the Democratic contest there and what’s at stake for the voters.