October 31st, 2008
02:55 PM ET

Obama's prospects in Missouri may hinge on the economy - and race

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/31/last.weekend/art.obamageneric.gi.jpg]Michael Finnegan
Los Angeles Times

Some white union members in the suburbs northwest of St. Louis are blunt about their racism when Gary Booth knocks on their doors.

"I am not voting for a black man," they tell Booth, who leads organized labor's Democratic campaign effort in nearly all-white St. Charles County.

Others are indirect but make clear that their unease with Barack Obama's race will influence their vote on Tuesday. "It's a difficult thing to try to break down those barriers," Booth said.

Whether Obama or Republican rival John McCain carries Missouri depends in no small part on the nearly 250,000 voters of St. Charles County, a fast-growing working-class area. It would be tough for any Democrat to win in this culturally conservative county, where many voters oppose abortion rights and gay marriage. However, the troubled economy and Obama's huge campaign operation have put the entire state in play.

The nominee is making two trips to Missouri in the campaign's final week. He has 44 offices in the state, which President Bush won handily in 2004, compared with McCain's 16. As for unpaid volunteers in Missouri, Obama has thousands.


soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Bob

    I left Missouri in 1981–moved to Denver. No only is the air cleaner, but it is lot better set of people

    October 31, 2008 at 7:44 pm |
  2. Joanne, Syracuse, NY

    As long as one person thinks or speaks racism, the fight for freedom has not been won. Racism is the betrayal of everything American!

    October 31, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  3. kimberly

    I live in St charles County, MO but are not originally from MO. Believe me I am amazed at the number of people here that are literally FEARFUL of having a black man as President. The funny thing is when you ask people in St. Charles and surrounding counties why they are voting for McCain they can't give a reason other than they are afraid of the consequences of having a black man in office.. In my opinion if you are voting for anything especially for President you should have reason's WHY you are or are not voting for someone and fear isn't a good enough reason..
    I am proudly voting for Obama and I can give several reasons why..
    This is just another example of why they call Missouri : THE SHOW ME STATE"

    October 31, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  4. Maureen T

    There are areas in America where a black person can't go! How scary and sad!

    October 31, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    I haven't been surprised by the racism – in fact I expected more – a product of growing up in the rural South I suppose. I have been impressed with Obama and how he put together this huge effective campaign organization. To be able to do that and bring into play all the different mediums of communication he has in his campaign makes me hopeful that this man will be just as good in the Executive Office should he make it there.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 31, 2008 at 6:45 pm |
  6. rita

    Unfortunately because of the racism still going on in this country, Obama needs to spend more if only to let people know who he is, what he stands for, and help people get accustomed to him.
    He is still the "underdog choice" mainly because of his race (even though he is half white), so yes he has spent much more money than McCain, but that doesn't mean he won't be a responsible president. Remember there is still a congress to go through when submitting ideas for laws.
    McCain on the other hand is so focused on "winning" Iraq that I feel we will be there for the next 10 years if not more, not to mention Afghanistan and who knows, perhaps Pakistan and Iran? In other words, how much can an already stretched army take? Will there be a draft in the future? All these things are worth thinking about because we are currently on the precipice of a decision that will have lasting effects for ourselves and especially our children.
    It's not so simple as: just because he spends money on his campaign means he will be spending during his administration, it goes much deeper than that.. There are much more important issues at stake, so when you go vote, be sure you are casting your vote for the person who will do the best for this country.

    October 31, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  7. Linda from Chicago

    I can understand people who vote for McCain because they believe he is the better candidate. I CANNOT understand the hatred that leads them to vote against Obama simply because he is half black. How sad is it that we still have large pockets of bigotry in this country? I think the majority of voters can see beyond race and will elect Senator Obama on Tuesday.

    October 31, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  8. Dmar Sutton

    The campaign of Senator McCain offers nothing positive and can only get votes by trying to smear Senator Obama. The reason that Republicans use negative campaiging is that it has worked in the past. Citizens need to do their homework and vote for the better overall candidate and not listen to all the "gloom and doom" scenarios about what will happen when Senator Obama is elected.

    I am pround to live in a country where a black man has the same chance as a white man to become president. I hope that people will do the right thing and vote for Senator Obama. He has a vision of where he wants to take the country. He clearly has a better idea of what he will do once he is in office.

    Voters missed the boat the last two presidential elections and voted for the less-qualified candidate.

    October 31, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  9. Larry

    What Cindy says. Ditto. 92% of blacks voting for obama, is that racist?

    October 31, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  10. Terrell Cole

    I live in STLouis County not far from ST Charles.Yes its a very racist place.Why do u think McCain held his rally there.He hasnt been in the city of ST Louis like Obama.

    October 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  11. Rich B - Knoxville

    "i am not voting for a black man,” they tell Booth.................

    Well - At least they are telling you why they are not voting for Obama -
    The people being askied are not trying to hide behind BS Code Words, like, Muslum, Arab, Terriorist, Baby-Killer, Untrustworthy (I especially like that one), Unpatriotic, Weird, etc. -- Think they are called "Closet Racist" - I believe they are all Arrogant Ignoramouses (hope I spelled that right) -

    If you are up to your neck in quicksand, are you going to allow only the ill-equipped and ill-tempered white man, with out a rope but with a partner who is as inept (and clueless), a peerson who has proven himself to panic in crisis to come along and promise he'll rescue you - The fellow who don't know how to do the rescue, but bad mouths the other fellow (because he's black) -

    October 31, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    @ Cindy...... so true! Sad but true.

    October 31, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  13. Ann Marie Barcott

    I was born in St Louis Mo .59 years ago haven't lived there since I was 16 years old- all I can say is how shameful people are - in this times that they are so hateful– we all have times in our life that we can look back with shame because we are unwilling to go forward to the unknown because of fear -rise above and be part of something that is good this is one of the times for me --I am proud that our country has this chance -not so proud of people that are full of hate--they are sad and I feel sorrry for them. I vote for Obama because our conutry needs to move on -–to call on our better angels not our worst demons -

    October 31, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  14. Charles Brown

    It's very intersting how white voters have a hard time seperating their intelligence from their emotions. They know Obama is right choice but becuase he is black, they let that stand in the way?! Black peolpe have been supporting the democratict ticket for years despight, in several instances, being taken for granted. I have a hard time understanding this.

    October 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  15. Debbie

    Comparison: McCain is not spending as much money compared to Obama who is spending money like it is going out of style. So what is this showing? The greater possibility that if McCain is the President he would NOT spend Americans hard earned dollars wrecklessly compared to Obama would spend Americans hard earned dollars like he has been spending it during his campaign wrecklessly and I believe he won't be the best choice. "McCain for President is America's safest bet!!!"

    October 31, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  16. Mango

    It is sickening to know that after all these civil right movements, people still lives in these racist caves.

    October 31, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  17. Vickie MO.

    Vote McCain/Palin, you vote against your own pocket's!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  18. Cindy

    I think that race will play more of a roll in this election than anyone wants to admit. And yes...there are racists on both sides of the aisle. There will be those voting for Obama only because he is black and they don't like whites and then there will be those who won't vote for him because he is black. We have come far in our race relations but we haven't come far enough to not have it effect this election.


    October 31, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  19. Susan

    "I am not voting for a black man,” is exactly why those of us not of that ignorant mindset MUST go out in droves and vote, for the only way to wake these people up from the nightmare they are creating for themselves as well as those they are bigoted against, is to have a great man like Barack be a great president as he will be. Interesting that a man brought up by a white mother and grandparents mostly in Hawaii in white neighborhoods and educated at white prestigious schools like Columbia and Harvard, bigots show their true colors, and not that they even have generalized discriminatory views of him but they are admitting the problem is not in Barack or any black person or black people in general but the problem IS IN THEM... that is what they are saying when they say "I am not voting for a black man,”, especially when he is half white and brought up essentially white, educated in white elite schools... so its not black that bothers them but something broken inside of them... so be healed anyone of color that has felt that sting of bigotry, the first step in healing these bigots is like an alchoholic realizing the problem is in them and not the world or the bottle, so now they know the sickness is in them and not in black people, maybe we can change and slowly eliminate the evil of racism and bigotry... and a president Obama will help us all for he appeals to our better selves unlike his opponent and his running mate who have disgustingly appealed to the worst in human nature... I hope this is one of those times good triumphs for I don't think we can take any more bad as a country, as individuals and as a world!

    October 31, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  20. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    How sad, that in the 21st century America, in a country that claims to be Christian there are still people who will not vote for a man/woman because of the color of their skin!

    Obviously, people who are prejudice have not really taken Jesus' commandment to "Love one another, as I have loved you" to heart!
    We need to pray for the ones whose fear and hate keep them from living fully in Christ!

    How sad! However, the vast majority of our Nation will be voting for an African-American man!

    We, Americans are fair-minded-civil-kind-people!


    October 31, 2008 at 3:01 pm |