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Democratic team begins selling tour in Pa.

NYT: Obama and Biden set off on their first joint cross-country campaign trek , arriving in the battleground of western Pennsylvania on the opening stop of their formal kickoff to the general election.
/ Source: The New York Times

Senators and set off on their first joint cross-country campaign trek on Friday, arriving in the critical battleground of western on the opening stop of their formal kickoff to the general election.

As the glow of their nominating convention was quickly overtaken by the announcement of the new Republican ticket, the two Democrats stayed purposely low key. They toured a biodiesel plant, stopped for ice cream and staged only one public event on their first day together as they returned to their task of trying to persuade voters beyond the Democratic activists in Denver to support their campaign.

“My argument is not with the man, but John McCain the presidential candidate and where he wants to take this country,” Mr. Obama said, amplifying the criticism he had leveled at his Republican rival one night earlier in his acceptance speech.

It was the seventh day of the Obama-Biden partnership, but the first chance for the two men to spend an extended period of time with each other. Joined by their wives, they will travel across Ohio and Michigan on a weekend bus tour before going their separate ways on Labor Day to maximize the exposure of the Democratic ticket.

Pennsylvania is among the states where the campaigns of Mr. Obama and Senator John McCain are vigorously competing. Mr. Obama lost the primary there to Senator , but Democrats enjoy an edge in registered voters in the state, largely because of the competitive presidential primary in the spring. Aides said Mr. Obama faced a challenge of making voters there comfortable with his candidacy, a task that Mr. Biden began taking on the moment he arrived here.

“My name is Joe Biden,” he yelled to the crowd. “And I’m from Scranton, Pennsylvania!”

One day after Mr. Obama spoke before 80,000 at the stadium, and a television audience of at least 40 million, the ticket’s arrival here was considerably different from recent postconvention trips. There was no Mississippi River boat tour that conducted eight years ago, and the bus tour was far shorter than Senator ’s bus tour four years ago.

Instead, Mr. Obama and his running mate simply greeted voters here in Irvine Park, arriving without considerable pomp and fanfare. Earlier, they sat for their first joint television interview, which will be broadcast on Sunday on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

Since Mr. Obama introduced Mr. Biden as his running mate last Saturday in Illinois, the two have spent little time together, with the exception of a few high-profile appearances at the convention in Denver. So the weekend trip was intended to be a joint strategy session, in addition to a rollout of their new partnership.

The industrial states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan are critical pieces of the electoral battleground, where Mr. Obama has deployed hundreds of campaign workers. Mr. Biden reminded voters of his Pennsylvania blue-collar roots as he introduced Mr. Obama to an audience, estimated by the local police at 8,000 people, that spilled out of a downtown park.

The evening rally was a stark reminder that for the next two months, Mr. Obama must go to the voters, unlike on Thursday evening, when the voters went to him and filled Invesco Field in Denver.

“It was a great honor, and it was a humbling experience,” Mr. Obama said, speaking without the trappings of live music, fireworks or confetti. “Because I was reminded that this election is not about me; it’s about you.”

This story, Democratic team begins its selling tour in Pennsylvania, purposely low key, first appeared in The New York Times.