This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," April May 3, 2008.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Coming up next on the "Journal Editorial Report," Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton go head-to-head in Indiana and North Carolina. As new poll numbers show trouble for Obama with the Democratic voters he needs most. Will the Reverend Wright fallout further damage his campaign?
Ben Bernanke's bender. The Fed cuts interest rates again despite soaring gas and food prices. Will he finally kick the rate hike habit? Find out, after the headlines.
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
It may all come down to Tuesday. That's when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama square off in Indiana and North Carolina in contests that could finally bring the Democratic primary fight to an end. But after a rough week for the Obama campaign it is uncertain whether he can deliver the knockout blow. New poll numbers show his lead slipping nationally especially with white working class Democrats.
Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel just returned from Indiana where those very voters hold the key to victory Tuesday. Also joining the panel, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor Dan Henninger, editorial board member Jason Riley and opinionjournal.com editor, James Taranto.
Kim, you were watching Senator Clinton follow her and Senator Obama in Indiana. How is Senator Clinton changing her campaign, if she is at all, to take advantage of Obama's weaknesses?
KIM STRASSEL, COLUMNIST: She is ramping it up. As you said, this is a fight over white working class voters. And it is all about the economy right now. So she is taking the themes that worked best for her in Pennsylvania. But she is actually — she sounds angrier on the campaign trail. She is bashing away at trade, promising to go after conditions that move jobs overseas. She has taken to going after gas prices, blaming it on rich oil companies, on OPEC, on market speculation. So she is trying to energize her voters, make them sort of unhappy about things and get them out to the polls.
GIGOT: Kim, how is Obama changing his campaign? I gather he is changing it in form a little and he is no longer giving huge, big arena rallies and instead going to smaller forums and talking about the economy. How is he trying to get the voters?
STRASSEL: That's right. He has moved to doing these kitchen table discussions with couples in Indiana everything to listen to their concerns and give them answers. He is doing a lot more of talking about how his proposals will help them with their bottom line. So you are hearing a renewed emphasis from him on his promise to middle-class tax cut but he is trying to — instead of as of about change and hope, he is trying to give them more definite answers. Although at the same time, he is being more careful about general election prospects effects.
GIGOT: Dan, let's talk about the gas tax dispute. John McCain and Hillary Clinton say we need a temporary moratorium on the 18 cent a gallon federal gas tax. Obama says, no, no, no, this will be temporary. Frankly, I agree with Obama on this in terms of the utility of cutting the tax is a small amount of money. It is only temporary. How effective politically can this be for Senator Clinton?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: I think it's probably pretty effective. It fits into the game plan Kim described there. She is driving a hard core economic populist strategy. I thought it was pretty significant miscalculation for Obama to say...
GIGOT: To do the right thing?
HENNINGER: To do the right thing. Yes. No one is doing the right thing out there anymore.
JAMES RILEY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: It is interesting. Obama, I think Indiana is a big opportunity for Obama. He I has been out there claiming he can appeal to Independent voters and Republican voters. Indiana's primary is open. It will give him a chance to prove that.
GIGOT: To get Independents again.