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Obama Speaks With Bill Clinton

John McCain visited two factories in Pennsylvania ahead of a trip to Latin America, which will begin today.
John McCain visited two factories in Pennsylvania ahead of a trip to Latin America, which will begin today. (By Lm Otero -- Associated Press)

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DEMOCRATIC FENCE-MENDING

Obama Speaks With Bill Clinton

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Barack Obama reached out to Bill Clinton on Monday, speaking for 20 minutes to the husband of his vanquished rival and asking the former president to campaign with him this fall.

"I believe he's excited to do it," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said afterward.

Obama placed the call as his campaign plane arrived here ahead of a speech on patriotism. The conversation would have taken place earlier, Obama aides said, but Clinton was in Europe last week.

"Senator Obama had a terrific conversation with President Clinton and is honored to have his support in this campaign. He has always believed that Bill Clinton is one of this nation's great leaders and most brilliant minds, and looks forward to seeing him on the campaign trail and receiving his counsel in the months to come," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

-- Jonathan Weisman

CAMPAIGNING VIA FACTORY TOUR

In Pa., McCain Sees What's Working

PIPERSVILLE, Pa. -- Monday was Safety Goggles Day for John McCain.

Even as he prepared to leave the next afternoon for Latin America, the Republican presidential candidate was devoting himself to domestic issues, talking about the price of gasoline and the need to revive the nation's economy. Apparently, these involved walking repeatedly across factory floors in a Rust Belt state.

McCain started off in Harrisburg, Pa., at Turbine Airfoil Designs, a producer of components for aircraft engines. Accompanied by several top company officials -- owner and CEO John Walton, President Ben Frazier, and production manager Tom Garner -- McCain examined several aspects of the engine-making process. At one point, Cindy McCain -- whose tangerine-colored, waffle-weave sweater-and-jacket set was coordinated to match her husband's tie -- pointed to a grinding machine and asked, "Does this work?" Sure enough, the operator turned it on and it made a loud noise, which resembled a mix of an old-fashioned knife sharpener and an espresso-machine milk steamer.

At the end of the tour, McCain watched company employees unveil a red-hot bell used for coating parts that had been heated to 1,975 degrees. "There's a lot of heat. You might want to step back," Garner warned McCain.

The senator dutifully did so, exhaling with relief as he walked away.

After his tour, McCain said he had chosen to visit the company because it exemplifies "both the opportunities and the challenges that face our manufacturing base here in the United States today." Some of the parts the company was making Monday, according to manufacturing engineer Kevin Hile, are destined to be shipped overseas to Fiat.

After a short plane flight and longer bus ride, McCain made it to Pipersville, a town in the Philadelphia suburbs, to visit Worth & Co., which produces heating and cooling units.


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