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Democrats’ Attention Turns to N.C., Ind. Primaries

April 25, 2008 at 6:10 PM EDT
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Following Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton turned their focus to upcoming primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. Clinton seeks to keep her momentum going while Obama looks to clinch the Democratic nomination.

RAY SUAREZ: Moving on to battlegrounds Indiana and North Carolina. Kwame Holman is on the campaign watch.

KWAME HOLMAN: With a pair of new polls showing Indiana’s May 6 primary up for grabs, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton each made a pitch to voters in the Hoosier State today.

The Indianapolis Star has Obama’s lead over Clinton at 3 points, but with 21 percent of respondents still undecided. The South Bend Tribune has the candidates separated by just a single point.

Obama staged a news conference at an Indianapolis gas station this morning, where he criticized Clinton and Republican John McCain for failing to respond to the oil crisis sooner.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: The candidates with the Washington experience, my opponents, are good people. They mean well. But they’ve been in Washington an awful long time. And even with all the experience they talk about, nothing has happened. This country didn’t raise fuel efficiency standards for over 30 years.

So what have we got for all that experience? Gas that’s approaching $4 a gallon. Because you can fight all you want inside of Washington, but unless you change the way it works, you won’t be able to make the changes America needs.

In the end, we’ll only ease the burden of gas prices on our families when Hoosiers and people all across America say, “Enough.” It’s time to free ourselves from the tyranny of oil and stop funding both sides of the war on terror. It’s time to save this planet for our children. The time is now, not after the next election or the one after that.

KWAME HOLMAN: Hillary Clinton’s campaign day began in Jacksonville, N.C., where she rallied voters who also will cast ballots on May 6. But by mid-afternoon, Clinton was at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, where she went after Obama on the price of oil issue.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), New York: Earlier today, my opponent attacked me on energy issues. He claimed he would take on the special interests. But we’ve heard him say that before.

But he voted — which I think is always the way to figure out where somebody truly stands. You know, my late father used to say, “Watch what they do, not what they say,” and that actions speak louder than words.

When it came time to stand up against the oil companies, to stand against Dick Cheney’s energy bill, my opponent voted for it, and I voted against it. And that bill had…that bill had billions of dollars in giveaways to the oil companies. It was the best bill that the energy companies could buy.

KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, John McCain was in Little Rock, Ark., on the fifth day of what he calls his “time for action tour,” joined by former governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

McCain met with students at Arkansas Baptist College, where he reiterated his call for a federal gas tax holiday.

Later, he took questions from reporters, including whether the prolonged Democratic race was helping his chances in the fall.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: I can control a lot of things between now and November the 4th. I can’t have any input or influence over the race between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton.

And whether it’s good for me or bad for me, my political fortunes that their race is continued, I have no idea, nor do I think much about. I observe it, obviously, as a lot of Americans do.

But I don’t know whether it’s helpful or harmful to my chances in November, but what I need to do is focus on my own campaign, my own priorities, establish my credibility, tell the American people my vision, and that it’s time for change and that it’s time for action now.

KWAME HOLMAN: McCain plans to take a break from campaigning in Florida, while Clinton and Obama have weekend events in Indiana.