Times Unearths More Republicans for Obama, in Indiana

Thursday's paper brought another entry in the Times' informal series "Republicans for Obama," Patrick Healy's "Obama Camp Sees Potential in G.O.P. Discontent." He began with a sketch of Chuck Lasker, who is supporting Obama after voting Republican all his life (the Indianapolis Star covered similar ground in a profile ofLasker last Friday).

Chuck Lasker, a political blogger and Internet consultant in Indiana, hosted a gathering last week of 20 people he calls "whispering Republicans" - party members like him who support Senator Barack Obama, a Democrat, for president. Over iced tea and brownies, the renegades took turns explaining why they liked Mr. Obama and recalling the strange stares from other Republicans.

It was sort of like a group therapy session," said Mr. Lasker, who said he had never voted for a Democrat, for any office, until the Indiana primary in May. "We all wanted to make sure we weren't a little crazy."

Republican anger over the Iraq war and the economy has left some advisers to Mr. Obama hopeful that they can capture pockets of Republican votes on Election Day in states like Alaska, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota and Virginia. Advisers also said they had recently begun emphasizing Mr. Obama's ties to Republicans as a way to make undecided independent voters more comfortable with him.

Actually, there's no indication anywhere that Lasker is a Republican "party member," as opposed to someone who just tends to vote Republican. (The Indy Star simply called him a "GOP voter.")

And Healy's sixth paragraph appeared to undercutthe story'sthesis of widespread GOP drift to the Obama camp:

Based on recent polls, as well as interviews with Obama advisers, Republican voters are not moving to Mr. Obama at a greater pace than they moved to Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004. In the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted this month, 9 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Mr. Obama if the election were held today; at the same point in 2004, 6 percent said they would have supported Mr. Kerry, a statistically insignificant difference.

Healy efficiently cut off criticism of Obama on multiple Republican fronts, saying "he strongly supports Israel" and would be a president "who pledges to work to decrease abortions."

Mr. Obama is hardly a perfect candidate for Republicans. Some say they loathe his support for abortion rights but have decided, after the failed 35-year campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade, that they could accept a Democratic president who pledges to work to decrease abortions, as Mr. Obama has.

His multilateral approach to foreign policy disturbs some Republican supporters, who worry that he will indulge European interests, cozy up to the United Nations and engage Iran and North Korea. And some Democrats may end up breaking with Mr. Obama over Israel, given his concern with Palestinian issues (though he strongly supports Israel).

Healy doesn't mention the inconvenient truth that Obama opposes a ban on the most extreme type of abortion procedure, partial-birth abortion. In fact, on that issue Obama is more pro-abortion than the abortion-rights group NARAL.