As he's done throughout this Pennsylvania tour, Obama has given short speeches -- only around 20 minutes. He then opens up the floor to questions from the crowd, and spends nearly twice as long answering public questions, often in great detail. Signs aren't allowed inside, and though there have been many attempts to get chants started, the events definitely have more of a townhall meeting feel than the rallies that he's been known for. They're toned down. They're small. But the questions have been good, and they've given the candidate a chance to interact more with voters in places like Scranton, and answer questions of concern to them, from increasing funding for Alzheimer's research to improving veteran's benefits. One person just asked how Obama intends to reach across the aisle and forge partnerships with Republicans. Obama's response: "Democrats have got to change what we do. Even though I'm progressive, I'm practical." It's not an answer that would fare well everywhere, but here in Scranton -- working class and progressive yet still conservative in many ways -- it went over quite well.
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