KWAME HOLMAN: Democrat Barack Obama has made clear he aims to turn typically red Virginia blue in the presidential election. Today, he campaigned with a Democrat who has successfully run for statewide office there, former governor and current Senate candidate Mark Warner.
FORMER GOV. MARK WARNER (D), Virginia: The next president of the United States, Senator Barack Obama.
KWAME HOLMAN: Obama chose to focus his remarks on the economic struggles facing many Americans.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: What's happened now is that not only is it harder to save and is it harder to retire, not only are jobs more insecure and people have lost their pensions, as well as their savings, but most importantly, people aren't sure whether that essential part of the American dream, the idea that if we work hard and we sacrifice the next generation's going to be a little bit better off than we were, people aren't sure whether that still holds true.
People feel like the American dream is slipping away. Now, that's what's at stake in this election.
We can't keep on going in the same direction that we've been going in. We have to fundamentally change how America does business.
And if you doubt that, if you doubt that, let me just ask you a question. How many of you are better off now than you were when George Bush first took office? Go ahead and raise your hands. How many are worse off than you were since George Bush took office?
That describes the reality of our politics over the last eight years. And that's the reason I'm running for president of the United States of America, because I want to make sure that the next generation here in Martinsville, here in Henry County, here in Virginia, here in the United States of America has the jobs and the opportunity of the future. That's what we're fighting for.
KWAME HOLMAN: Obama said Republican John McCain and his party were using personal attacks on him to compensate for a lack of policy ideas.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Politicians, they get up and make a lot of promises, and then things don't change, and so people become cynical. And, frankly, that's sort of what the Republicans and my opponent are counting on, the cynicism of voters.
You notice they don't spend a lot of time defending their record, because they can't. I mean, John McCain said he thought we had made great progress economically over the last eight years under George Bush. I don't know who he's talking to, but this is what he said.
They're not going to argue the issues, because the American people understand that things haven't been working. All you've got to do is open up the newspaper or go down to the diner or the VFW hall, and talk to your neighbors, and talk to your friends, and you know things aren't going well. You know things have to change. And the Republicans know it, too.
But here's the thing. Even though they don't know how to govern, they're very good at running elections. And so what they're going to do is they're going to try to attack me and make you worried about me.
And they'll say, "Well, he's young, and he's got a funny name and, you know, he's not patriotic." That's what they're going to do.
And because people I think feel betrayed by government so much for so long, it's easy to believe bad things about politicians. And it's easy to just say, "Well, you know, a plague on both their houses. Nobody is going to do anything to bring about change."
You know, that's -- we've seen this game before. We've seen it 4 years ago, 8 years ago, 12 years ago, 16 years ago, 20 years ago. We have seen this movie before. So what's going to be different this time? What's going to be different is you.