CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A lot of people who don't live in Iowa seem to be saying the rural prairie state carries too much clout in presidential politics with its quadrennial candidate-winnowing caucuses. But Illinois Sen. Barack Obama -- who is leading in the Iowa polls -- has wondered aloud if key swing states Ohio and Florida get too much attention after the major party nominees are chosen. It is a fact that in 1976, 1980, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2004, Ohio and Florida were the big battlegrounds. In 2004, President Bush and John Kerry seemed to be somewhere in Ohio every week, and they appeared ready to apply for residency, or start wearing sweater vests if it would give them an edge. It is widely believed by political strategists of all stripes that a candidate probably cannot reach the White House without carrying Ohio.
Democrat Obama told an Iowa audience earlier this week that a presidential campaign should be fought across more states than Ohio and Florida, because doing so creates a risk an election can be stolen. He decried the focus on the two. He did not say the 2000 or 2004 elections were stolen, but his comment could be viewed as feeding off suspicion among numerous Democrats that something must have gone terribly awry to put Bush in office. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Obama would build a coalition of Dems, Republicans and independents nationally. That coalition would lessen his need to rely on votes from Ohio and Florida.
"We aren't going to have 47 percent on one side, 47 percent on the other side, 5 percent in the middle and they all live in Ohio and Florida and you only campaign in two states."
He also sounded like he would wage trench warfare if there was any suspicion of voter fraud.
"If for any reason this thing is close, we will fight it tooth and nail till the end. The nice thing is, I'm a voting rights attorney as well as civil rights attorney."