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Campaign Notebook

Rails offer Obama a new platform

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April 20, 2008

PAOLI, Pa. - Barack Obama yesterday reiterated his case that only he could deliver a new politics, but he did so with all the trappings of the old politics: a whistle-stop tour across Pennsylvania.

"This election is our chance to declare independence - to declare independence from politics as usual," Obama said at his first stop, in Wynnewood on Montgomery County's Main Line, returning to a rhetorical theme he kicked off at a massive rally in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall on Friday night.

Obama's throwback day trip across eastern Pennsylvania - by all accounts the first foray onto the rails by a candidate - seemed designed less to present him as an everyman than a historical figure. Obama traveled on an antique rail car with a back platform for waving to crowds along the route.

"Where you going?" Obama hollered to passengers waiting on an adjacent track in Philadelphia. "New York? Tell everybody I said hi."

Then Obama blew the train's horn twice - "that is too much fun," he reported giddily - and offered his take on the famous conductor's cry.

"Everybody get on board now!" he said.

SASHA ISSENBERG

Clinton urges Pa. voters to examine the big picture
WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Hillary Clinton implored Pennsylvanians yesterday to think about the nation's trade and debt burdens, the growth of China, and the restive Middle East when they vote in the state's pivotal primary, perhaps her last chance to stall Barack Obama's reach for the Democratic nomination.

Her implication was clear - Obama is flash, she is substance.

Clinton spoke under a baking sun outside West Chester's 175-year-old fire house, striking a somber note about problems at home and abroad as she described the stakes for voters Tuesday.

"I don't want to just show up and give one of those whoop-dee-do speeches and get everybody whipped up," she said. "I want everyone thinking."

Obama leads Clinton in overall delegates, 1,645 to 1,505, with 2,025 needed to win the nomination. Obama also has a thin lead in the popular vote that Clinton hopes to overcome before final ballots are cast in June.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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