The Caucus (NY Times political blog, with video (10:58):
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — On the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Senator Barack Obama chose to spend the day not in Memphis with the other two candidates but hopscotching around Indiana, North Dakota and Montana. Nevertheless, Dr. King’s life and legacy were the subject of an emotional speech he delivered to a racially mixed crowd during a town meeting at a high school in Fort Wayne.Howie P.S.: In the same newspaper, it was reported that a new Pew Research Center poll found "nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the largely older, white, working-class Democratic voters who hold a negative view of Mr. Obama believe he is a Muslim."
Talking to reporters just after landing in Fort Wayne, Mr. Obama said he felt no worries that his absence from Memphis could be misinterpreted. He referred to his speech on race in Philadelphia two weeks ago, and mentioned that he not only had spoken at Dr. King’s home church in January on his birthday.
In his remarks at the high school, Mr. Obama sought to link Dr. King’s efforts in the 1960s to issues that are still unresolved and plague American society today. The reason Dr. King was in Memphis the day he was shot, he reminded the crowd of about 2,000 people, had to do as much with economics, in the form of wages and income, as with race.
“It was a struggle for economic justice, for the opportunity that should be available to people of all races and all walks of life,” he said. “Because Dr. King understood that the struggle for economic justice and the struggle for racial justice were really one, that each was part of a larger struggle for freedom, for dignity, and for humanity.”