(CNN) – On the eve of critical primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, Sen. Barack Obama sought to draw a contrast between him and rival Sen. Hillary Clinton by laying out three major differences between himself and the New York senator.
Speaking at a North Carolina light bulb manufacturer, Obama told workers that his differences with Clinton are “not that much about policy, for the most part.” Instead, Obama identified differences in style, approach and outlook.
“Right now, on May 6, here in North Carolina, the question you have to ask yourself is: Who is best able to lead that Democratic Party to deliver on change?” said Obama. “This is where there are big differences between Sen. Clinton and me.”
“Number one: I think there is a difference in our attitudes about special interests in Washington and how much they dominate the debate,” Obama said. Obama characterized Clinton as accepting PAC’s and lobbyists as “a given.” “I think they are part of the problem,” he said.
“Point number two is the need to be honest about how we’re actually going to solve problems, how are we going to get results,” Obama said. The current three-way debate between himself, Clinton, and Sen. John McCain about a federal gas tax holiday is “the perfect example, the perfect metaphor for what’s been going on in Washington.”
“It’s a shell game,” Obama said of proposals by McCain and Clinton to suspend the federal gas tax over the summer. Instead, Obama advocates for permanent middle-class tax relief and longer-term planning for energy independence and alternative energy sources.
Third, Obama took a pot shot at Clinton’s reputation for being a polarizing figure. “I think that we’ve got to unify the country and that means we can’t be obsessed with the bickering and the name-calling and the back-and-forth,” he said. “I’m a proud Democrat but I’m a prouder American and I think it’s important for us to be able to speak to one another and disagree without being disagreeable.”
Clinton and Obama will face off again Tuesday in primaries in North Carolina and Indiana where a total of 187 delegates are at stake between the two states.