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Democrats Campaign While Republicans Convene

The newly nominated Democratic Party presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, and his vice presidential running mate, Senator Joe Biden, wasted no time after their Denver nominating convention. They launched a bus tour of five states - Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin - states seen as critical in winning the White House in November. VOA's Jeffrey Young reports.

While the Republican Party has been holding its nominating convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Democrats have not been idle.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama, and his vice presidential running mate, Senator Joe Biden have hit the road, with the U.S. economy as a central theme.

On Wednesday, Obama told voters at a campaign stop that the Republicans are ignoring this serious issue.

Obama says, "Last night when they were speaking, all these speakers came up. You did not hear a single word about the economy. Now, think about it. Not once did people mention the hardships people are going through."

The Democrats made the economy, and their plans to fix it, a centerpiece of their convention last week in Denver.

After the convention, Obama and Biden began their tour of important north central industrial states where job losses have hit people hard.

Starting out in Pennsylvania, Obama and Biden blasted the economic policies of the Republicans and their presidential candidate, Senator John McCain.

Biden says, "America is ready to get back up! America is ready to get back up! And this is the man who will get it back up!"

Obama adds, "John McCain just does not get what ordinary people here in Beaver, Pennsylvania are going through."

The Democrats then moved to the adjacent state of Ohio, where Obama told people in the city of Toledo that John McCain's pick for vice president, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, shares this view on working women.

"She is opposed, like John McCain is, to equal pay for equal work. That doesn't make much sense to me," Obama said.

The Democrats have so far not raised questions about Governor Palin's qualifications to step in as president should something happen to John McCain, if he were elected. She has been Alaska's governor for less than two years, her only significant elected position.

After word came out that Palin's 17 year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant, Obama refused to comment.

Obama says, "I think people's families are off-limits. And people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance."

He said the problem with Sarah Palin is her policies which are wrong for America.

On Tuesday, Senator Biden broke away from the northern industrial states to visit a south Florida community, Deerfield Beach. There, he reassured elderly Jewish voters that Barack Obama stands for their issues.

Biden says, "In my gut and in my heart and in my head know that Barack Obama is exactly where I am on Israel."

But campaigning is more than rallies and speeches. Every campaign, like an army, travels on its stomach. And that means plenty of stops in cafes and diners to eat and shake hands with the people. Politicians hope those moments will lead to more votes on Election Day in November.