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Issue of race cannot be ignored

SALISBURY, N.C. _ From her post at a downtown formal-wear rental shop, from customers black and white, Shelia Baker gets an earful of racially tinged talk about Barack Obama.

Black customers, she says, seem to favor Obama because he's African American. Whites talk about his inexperience or political views, but some veer far from politics.

"You wouldn't believe " Baker begins as she takes a cigarette break outside the store.

"You've got to remember this is the Bible Belt. A whole lot of it is because he is Muslim, well, supposedly. And in the Book of Revelation, something about a man comes out of the East or something – I don't know, I just hear them talking. I've heard him described as everything from the Antichrist to, you know, all different kinds of things."

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