Obama launches mail campaign in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Barack Obama is headed to your mailbox.

The Illinois senator's campaign began distributing its first mail advertisement in California on Tuesday, a day before the Democratic presidential candidate is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles.

The color piece featuring campaign trail snapshots and excerpts from speeches is targeting residents who plan to vote by mail. Absentee ballots went out last week to more than 4 million Californians.

Not surprisingly, the largest printed word on the mailer is "Change," Obama's familiar refrain. It never mentions chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton but refers to issues Obama's campaign has used to distinguish him from the New York senator, including his early opposition to the Iraq war.

The use of mail-in ballots has grown rapidly in California in recent years, and analysts predict 50 percent or more of the votes in the Feb. 5 presidential primary could come through the mail. Many of those ballots will be sent in weeks before Election Day.

The campaign said the mailing was distributed statewide, but aides did not provide details on how many pieces were printed.

California will see a surge of campaign activity this week. Along with Obama, Clinton and fellow Democrat John Edwards are scheduled to hold events.

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