From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
INDIANAPOLIS -- Obama began his final push in the lead-up to the May 6 contests in Indiana and North Carolina by acknowledging the potential damage from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy.
The comments came in response to a question about his biggest worry or his biggest weakness heading into Tuesday's primaries. "Obviously we've had to fight through, over the last week, an awful lot of noise. That's, that's just a fact," he said, adding that he sought to refocus the conversation on the issues.
The senator said he hoped to reach as many people as possible in the coming days, in part to fight what he called a ""caricature" of him and his wife as "elitist, pointy-headed intellectual types."
"I think when you're running for president, you make certain assumptions that people after 15 months really know who you are and then you realize, well, maybe there are still a whole bunch of folks who don't know who you are and -- despite the fact that you're on TV every day," he said, explaining that he wanted to get out and talked to as many people as he could.
"You know, it turns out that not everyone has read my books," he joked. "It's shocking."
Earlier in the roughly 20-minute press conference he said, "We have had a rough couple of weeks, I won't deny that," but said he still enjoyed "terrific support all across Indiana and all across North Carolina" and that voters were more interested in the issues affecting their lives.
He said he thought the race could be close.
"I have no doubt that these are going to be tight races. This campaign has been tight throughout,' he said. "But I am very confident that the American people are looking for the kind of truth telling and serious policy making that is going to have an impact on their lives. And as long as I am talking about the issues that matter to them, I think we have a terrific chance."