STEPPING IT UP A NOTCH
Obama Says GOP Wants to Scare Voters
ROLLA, Mo. -- A comic shtick about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee having a funny name and a face different from other presidential candidates has been part of Barack Obama's stump speech for weeks. But after Obama played the line bigger than usual Wednesday, Republicans cried foul.
"Nobody thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face. So what they are going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama told a crowd in Springfield. "You know, 'He's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name.' You know, 'He doesn't look like all of those other presidents on the dollar bills.' "
"Those folks know they don't have any good answers. They know they had their turn over the last eight years and made a mess of things," he said here. "They know they can only win by making you scared of me."
Obama did not directly mention race or his full name -- Barack Hussein Obama.
But when John McCain's campaign responded, it was to say that Obama had "baselessly forecasted that John McCain would make claims about Obama's physical appearance and middle name."
"Like most celebrities, he reacts to fair criticism with a mix of fussiness and hysteria," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.
-- Jonathan Weisman
EAGER FOR A FIGHT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- File this one under the category "Who knew?"