Abercrombie thinks Obama campaign finally getting message
Barack Obama supporter Rep. Neil Abercrombie said the Democratic presidential candidate needs to get tougher in his primary battles against Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Abercrombie, who was quoted in the Washington Post earlier this week saying, "I call all the time but I never get through," said yesterday he thinks he has finally connected with the Obama campaign.
"I wish there was more contact with the congressional folks," Abercrombie said yesterday in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. "I think we are closest to the electorate."
As one of the earliest national supporters of Obama's presidential campaign, Abercrombie has been used as a hard-hitting surrogate to talk to union members about Obama. He returned this week from campaign swings through Oregon and Montana.
"I don't think you are going to see much more of the rhetorical flourishes," Abercrombie said. "He is banging it in now. He had the 'hope and change' drumbeat and now he is into a solid message of programmatic change and we are turning the corner."
Asked whether the Obama national campaign was having difficulty relating to voters, Abercrombie said no, that Obama himself is adjusting.
"People grow and adjust in a campaign. You can't always swing for the fences. He is, like they say in baseball, coachable," Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie was concerned that Obama's opposition to Clinton's proposal to cut the federal tax on gasoline this summer was too theoretical.
"Our advice to them was to pound a lot harder on the practical side of the gas tax, that is to say the loss of jobs and the loss of highway money. He did get into that to some degree, but not to the degree we wanted," Abercrombie said. "The gas tax thing was a huge mistake on her part and I thought we could have taken better advantage of it. I think she is going to be in serious difficulty after tonight."
Abercrombie, who went to graduate school with Obama's parents at the University of Hawaii, said he feels Obama reversed the predictions of two weeks ago in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries because Clinton had been earlier predicted to win by more than 10 percentage points in Indiana and come close to winning in North Carolina.