Obama to campaign in rural Missouri

Sunday, July 27, 2008 | 6:08 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is coming back to Missouri this week to campaign in rural areas of the state.
It’s part of his strategy to visit parts of the country that have received little attention from Democrats in past campaigns.
The daylong visit on Wednesday will include Springfield, Rolla and several other smaller cities and towns that are still being finalized.
“This is a microcosm of his strategy on a national basis,” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Sunday on a conference call with reporters. McCaskill, who will join Obama for the trip, has been a key adviser in Obama’s campaign and has pushed him to travel to areas that are not usually considered friendly Democratic territory.
“It’s very important for people in traditional Republican strongholds to have a sense of how humble he is, how patriotic he is, that he is a good Christian man who understands Missouri,” McCaskill said.
Obama’s visit follows a weekend in which his campaign opened 24 offices around the state, including many in rural areas and smaller cities like Arnold, Belton and Pike County.
McCaskill calls Obama’s effort to reach out to rural voters “unprecedented” for a Democratic White House hopeful.
Obama canvassers in Missouri are “knocking on doors they’ve never knocked on before,” McCaskill said.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said the Missouri visit is part of Obama’s effort to introduce himself to voters who either don’t know much about Obama’s background or may have heard erroneous information.
When asked whether the rural visit will further try to tamp down false Internet rumors that Obama is a Muslim, Mesloh said Obama’s religious views are part of a broader picture of the man that rural voters should know.
“They just don’t know his background and his biography,” Mesloh said. “That includes all things. That includes his religion, the fact that he has two young girls, that he was a senator in Illinois who voted on agricultural issues.”

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