RALEIGH, N.C. — For the first time in the North Carolina primary, Barack Obama drew sharp contrasts between himself and Hillary Clinton. as he addressed a raucous crowd of 5,000 chanting party activists at the Nort Carolina Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.
Clinton also addressed the dinner, but didn't attack Obama.
"Real changes have never been easy," Obama told a raucous crowd. "The status quo doesn't give up without a fight. The status quo in this country are not just Republicans."
He used the tax holiday — an idea that Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, also supports — to illustrate the Democratic Party's need to set itself apart. "When we're offering the same things that John McCain is offering on the cheap, that means we are not presenting a truthful response to the challenges we face in America," Obama said. "We can do better than that this time."
Clinton pledged to work for Obama, should he win the nomination. "If Senator Obama is the nominee, you better believe I will work my heart out for him," Clinton said. Obama offered a similar promise: "If Hillary Clinton were the nominee, I would support her in a heartbeat."
The crowd was pro-Obama. Gov. Mike Easley, who had endorsed Clinton earlier in the week, was jeered when he was introduced, and had to speak over scattered boos.
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