Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another big "rural" headline in today's NYT, this one about the Presidential election

The headline today is "A Rural Slice of a Big State Tests Obama," and the big state at issue is Pennsylvania. The story's dateline is Raccoon Township, a backwoods, down home name if ever there was one. Beaver County, Pennsylvania has a population 181,412).

Here is an excerpt from Michael Powell's story:

To roam the rural reaches of western Pennsylvania, through largely white working-class counties, is to understand the breadth of the challenge facing the two presidential candidates. But this economically ravaged region, once so solidly Democratic, poses a particular hurdle for Senator Obama.

From the desolation of Aliquippa — where the Jones & Laughlin steel mill loomed at the foot of the main boulevard — to the fading beauty of Beaver Falls to the neatly tended homes of retired steel workers in Hopewell, one hears much hesitating talk about Mr. Obama, some simply quizzical or skeptically political, and some not-so-subtly racial.

The story features lots of rich quotes from residents and is well worth a read in its entirety. Interestingly, although it was on the front page of the national edition of the paper, by mid-afternoon today, it was nowhere in sight online. I didn't see it make the top-10 emailed stories all day, but it did draw more than 150 comments from readers, some of them colorful indeed.

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