Leading in polls with 25 days to the election, Democrat Barack Obama is playing it safe, offering careful proposals to address the economic crisis while letting allies respond to John McCain's sharpest charges.
The Democratic presidential nominee reads his speeches from teleprompters, reducing the chance of gaffes. He has not held a news conference in two weeks, although he has done several one-on-one interviews with national and local reporters.
He now refers to Republican John McCain as “my opponent” more often than by name. And he offers carefully limited, comparatively noncontroversial remedies for the nation's financial crisis.
McCain was booed by his own supporters Friday when he described the Democrat as a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.”
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Publicly, Obama's aides say he keeps a calm demeanor and measured tone because he doesn't want to fuel the anguish and panic caused by the economic meltdown. Privately, they acknowledge there is no desire to shake up a campaign dynamic that is inching him closer to the White House.
“I don't like to yell,” Obama told more than 10,000 people in Columbus on Friday, his fifth large rally in hotly contested Ohio in two days. He was referring to a sound-system glitch, but it could have been a metaphor for his home-stretch strategy.
“He's responding just right, and the polls are reflecting it,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who campaigned with Obama this week and helped lead the counterattacks against McCain.