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Barack Obama may campaign at a NASCAR event

July 3, 2008 |  3:21 pm

As Barack Obama continues his focus on states that usually vote Republican in presidential elections, word comes that he may campaign at a NASCAR event. Why? Well, to paraphrase a supposed Willie Sutton line that he robbed banks because that's where the money is, if Obama needs white working-class voters in the fall, there are few better places to find them than at a NASCAR event.Barack_obama_may_campaign_at_a_nasc

Roll Call has the news, but it's behind their subscription wall. Briefly, they quote Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki as saying a campaign appearance was a possibility but no dates or firm confirmations were offered. "We would love to make it to a NASCAR race if the schedule permits," she said.

Roll Call noted that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits the Chicagoland Speedway next weekend then later in the month races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Bill Clinton tried that tack in September 1992, campaigning at the Southern 500 Stock Car race in Darlington, S.C., but drew jeers and catcalls and insults about his lack of Vietnam War service. That was the year Richard Petty was retiring, and the staunch Republican and racing icon told track officials he wouldn't drive the pace car -- part of his retirement-year sendoff -- if Clinton was in the parade.

Clinton lost South Carolina by 8 points. And more recently George W. Bush actively courted NASCAR fans -- getting a much better reception.

-- Scott Martelle

Photo by Ben Margot/Associated Press

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