Politics & Government

With different strategies, Obama, McCain barnstorm Florida

Democrat Barack Obama offering hope and change to thousands of supporters in packed arenas. Republican John McCain sipping coffee and shaking hands with struggling business owners.

These are the images likely to emerge from Wednesday's overlapping events on the campaign trail in Florida — and they say as much about the state of the race as they do about the candidates themselves.

Obama boasts marquee appeal and a strapping statewide organization with the money and staff to pull off major rallies in three cities, including one at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise. Nursing a lead in the polls, the Democratic ticket nominee is using enthusiastic crowds and television time to build hype around early voting.

He'll tape an interview for Comedy Central's The Daily Show from Florida and make his first joint appearance with former President Bill Clinton in Orlando.

McCain typically doesn't draw arena-sized crowds. He's doing more understated events on Wednesday, some closed to the public and most press, to convey a connection with working people and reassure voters he won't raise taxes.

He'll start his day in Miami with interviews on Spanish-language radio, a stop at a diner and a public appearance at Everglades Lumber, before visiting a Riviera Beach manufacturer and heading to Tampa to talk national security. The Arizona senator rooted his presidential bid in the war in Iraq, but the economic crunch has forced him to talk much more about taxes.

''He can't pick a message, and if he's going to go toe to toe with us and do rallies, he's going to suffer by comparison,'' said Kirk Wagar, finance chairman for Obama's campaign in Florida.

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com