Worried Democrats want Barack Obama to get tougher, show more passion. Why is he so calm, supporters ask, so close to an election that looks so tight?
“Just keep steady,” Obama tells them. “I'm skinny, but I'm tough. I'm from Chicago.”
Obama hears the concern, from senior Democrats and big-money contributors, from columnists and supporters along the rope lines at campaign events. He heard it again Tuesday in a receiving line in Hollywood to pose for pictures with donors who paid $28,500 to be with him Tuesday.
“I know that a lot of you, just in conversations while we were in the photo lines, had all sorts of suggestions,” Obama said. “And a lot of people have gotten nervous and concerned. ‘Why is this as close as it is? And what's going on?'”
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“We always knew this was going to be hard, and this is a leap for the American people,” Obama said. “And we're running against somebody who has a formidable biography, a compelling biography. He's a genuine American hero, somebody who served in uniform and suffered through some things that very few of us can imagine.”
Urging Democrats not to worry about his cool demeanor, Obama said, “The reason I'm calm is I have confidence in the American people.”
But many of his supporters are upset that polls show the race is pretty much even, even with Obama running against a Republican who used to brag that he voted 90 percent of the time with President Bush.
There does seem to be more bite in Obama's daily remarks.
With unemployment rising and big financial firms failing, Obama and Republican rival John McCain both have pushed the economy to the front of their speeches
McCain generally has been more cutting in his own remarks, and he got more personal Tuesday.
“Let's have some straight talk: Senator Obama is not interested in the politics of hope; he's interested in his future. That's why he's hurling insults,” McCain said as he and running mate Sarah Palin addressed a rally in Ohio.