So I’m looking at this pool report from a run-of-the-mill day in the Obama campaign. Barack and Michelle dropped by to have lunch with an Indiana couple, Mike and Cheryl Fischer. Mike works in Amtrak’s Beech Grove shop, as his family has for generations.

Notes the report dryly: "No news."

But I scan down a bit to the middle, where Barack’s talking to Mike about his impending layoff at Amtrak, and suddenly my mouth is hanging open.

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Says Obama:

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The irony is with the gas prices what they are, we should be expanding rail service. One of the things I have been talking bout for awhile is high speed rail connecting all of these Midwest cities — Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis. They are not that far away from each other. Because of how big of a hassle airlines are now. There are a lot of people if they had the choice, it takes you just about as much time if you had high speed rail to go the airport, park, take your shoes off.

This is something that we should be talking about a lot more. We are going to be having a lot of conversations this summer about gas prices. And it is a perfect time to start talk about why we don’t have better rail service. We are the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t have high speed rail. We just don’t have it. And it works on the Northeast corridor. They would rather go from New York to Washington by train than they would by plane. It is a lot more reliable and it is a good way for us to start reducing how much gas we are using. It is a good story to tell.

WTF? Finally something from one of the candidates on the obvious solution to crippling price of gas — getting people out of cars — and it comes in an informal lunch? Why isn’t this part of the stump speech? Why doesn’t transit have higher profile in this campaign?


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(thanks, CP!)