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May 6: The 527 wars

INDIANA: The Los Angeles Times examines the Clinton-supporting 527. "With $220,000 in ad buys Wednesday alone, the California-based American Leadership Project has spent more on advertisements in Indiana than in the other, more populous states where it has been active: Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio… The effort is funded mainly by unions backing Clinton. The American Federation of Teachers donated $300,000 on Wednesday. In recent days, the effort has received a combined $600,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and unions representing painters and sheet metal workers."

SEIU, though, is now chipping in more money for its own pro-Obama campaign. "The SEIU has spent the most on independent campaigns during the primaries -- at least $8.7 million boosting Obama's candidacy, according to Federal Election Commission records. The AFSCME has spent $4.1 million to help Clinton."

The New York Times looks at the sense of urgency Clinton is feeling regarding Indiana. "While Clinton advisers say that Mrs. Clinton needs to carry the state to start trying to catch up with Mr. Obama's lead in delegates, some political analysts said that even a virtual tie would be a setback because it would show she could not beat Mr. Obama when he was struggling."

Here's a dispatch from NBC's Kevin Corke from the Mean Green Machine… In our travels from Anderson, IN to Indianapolis, we rode in-cab with Joe Pyles, a professional truck driver. Joe -- a white male in his mid-50s -- has been driving big rigs for 30 years. He told me he could remember when gas cost 65 cents a gallon. Now with prices for diesel over $4.40 in some places it costs him $800 every time he fills up. "I don't care who you are, the cost of fuel is making it tough just to live. Forget about eatin' at a restaurant, I've gotta make sure I can put the basics in the cupboard. And you can point to one reason, the cost of fuel- period!"

Pyles said jobs, the economy, and gas prices are the main issues he wants the next president to address -- adding that he's leaning toward voting for Obama.

We also spoke with Jennifer Preston (a black female, mom of four who just took a buyout from Chrysler after 15 years on the job). She said jobs and health care are her main issues. She said she liked Hillary until South Carolina and the "Bill thing." Now she's backing Obama. "I think he can help lift up black people so they can get a chance to do better, cause we've been struggling."

Preston said she thought Obama waited too long to more forcefully distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright. "I'm not mad at Obama, I'm mad at Wright because he doesn't speak for black people, Obama or for Indianans. No preacher I know ever talked like that. He knows he's hurting Obama and I think he's doing it on purpose... He (Wright) should be ashamed."

Today, we'll meet students at Indiana University (supporters of Clinton and Obama), and we'll interview them from the Mean Green Machine. We'll also talk gas prices as we take the MGM to various stations on our way to Bloomington.