After one of Wall Street's worst weeks ever, Barack Obama brings his campaign and its hope-and-change theme to Florida, one of the states hit hardest by the economic crisis.
At best, he is tied — but gaining ground — in Florida polls with Republican John McCain. A national Gallup Poll, showing Thursday that Obama has opened up a 4-percentage-point lead nationwide, suggests that his stock with voters is improving as the stock market tanks.
Amid the financial troubles, Obama's visit Friday will be pivotal to swaying public opinion just as the first absentee ballots are mailed. Obama will headline rallies at the University of Miami's Bank-United Center on Friday and in Daytona Beach and Jacksonville on Saturday.
"The days are ticking down, and I believe this campaign visit is very, very important,'' said Terrie Brady, president of the teachers union in Jacksonville. 'If he stays on message, it will be a home run. Like Bill Clinton said, 'it's the economy, stupid.' ''
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