Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Crowdfund Greek media instead of Greek debt!

Read more

THE DEBATE

Greece: better deal or bust (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Greece: better deal or bust (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's Border Bother: Ankara wary of emboldened Kurds (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Golan Heights' Druze minority urges action across border in Syria

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

How does IS group finance itself?

Read more

FACE-OFF

French terror attacks: A 'war of civilization'?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's Border Bother: Ankara wary of emboldened Kurds (part 1)

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Tale of Tales', 'Love and Mercy' and 'Terminator Genisys'

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2012-09-03

The Obama Express

Four years ago, a young senator named Barack Obama left Chicago for the White House. Today, with the presidential campaign in full swing, France 24 decided to follow in his tracks. Our reporters travelled 1,230 kilometres by train from Chicago to Washington to find out what it will take for the Democrats to win the American vote again.

Our report began at the home of the "Obama 2012" campaign: the president’s own hometown of Chicago. From there, our train, the Capitol Limited, took us on a journey through the crucial swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania before dropping us off in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Along the way, we encountered supporters, organisers and volunteers as they met with voters questioning whether they made the right decision when they cast ballots for Obama four years ago.

For the campaign, undecided voters are key, and they can be reached in many ways. Campaign volunteer Ken Johnson showed us how it’s done on a sweltering day in an African-American neighbourhood in Cleveland. “It’s about door by door, block by block, neighbourhood by neighbourhood,” Ken told us. Brianna Brown, another volunteer, decided to spend her entire summer in the swing state of Ohio. "If you win Ohio, you can win the election", she explains.

That can be said about many of the battleground states, including Florida, Iowa, Virginia and Pennsylvania, where both the Romney and Obama campaigns have set their sights.

In Pittsburgh, we met the Walton family and their friends before the president took to the stage during one of his campaign stops. All of them voted for Obama in 2008. Their allegiance won’t change, but there are some doubts and niggling disappointments. “I thought it would be wonderful if he could change everything in three and a half years, but realistically I knew that was probably not going to happen," Gary Walton told us.

Obama’s campaign strategists know that waning support, or just a slight lack of enthusiasm, means thousands of lost votes. And so the campaign intensifies: the president regularly leaves the White House, for a day or two at a time, to make his case for another four years.

The campaign volunteers pave the way, but all the volunteers in the world cannot beat enemy number one. We encountered it all along our journey, from the rust belt to the mining heartland to the farmlands. That enemy is unemployment, along with the devastating impact it could have come voting day. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt, no US president has won re-election with unemployment over 7.4 percent. The jobless rate currently stands at 8.3 percent.

It may all be a matter of persuasion, but the Republicans are counting on unemployment in Ohio and elsewhere to be what gets Obama out of the White House.

By Stanislas DE SAINT HIPPOLYTE , Philip CROWTHER

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-06-26 Kenya

Kenya's vicious circle: Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Last April, two years after the massacre at the Nairobi shopping mall, Kenya was again plunged into horror. At Garissa University in eastern Kenya, 148 students were shot dead in...

Read more

2015-06-19 USA

Racial tensions linger in LA, city of Rodney King riots

As the US reels from the racist attack in Charleston, South Carolina, FRANCE 24's reporters went to Los Angeles, which has been deeply marked by racial tensions in recent years....

Read more

2015-06-12 Burma

The Great Rohingya 'Exodus'

In Burma, the stateless Rohingya minority, estimated at 1.3 million people, is systematically discriminated against by both the authorities and extremist Buddhist monks.

Read more

2015-06-05 Ukraine

Ukraine: A phoney war in strategic Mariupol

Mariupol is a strategic port on the Sea of Azov in eastern Ukraine. It is one of the last major eastern cities still controlled by Kiev, but it remains under constant threat from...

Read more

2015-05-29 Iraq

Video - Abu Azrael: ‘Iraq’s Rambo’

In the Iraqi army and on social networks, he’s an icon. Abu Azrael, a Rambo-like Shiite militiaman, has helped push back the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq. Our reporters went...

Read more