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He's taking today off to see his grandmother.

INDIANAPOLIS - Democrat Barack Obama moved from defense to offense Thursday as he characterized Republican John McCain's approach to taxes as nothing more than "putting corporations ahead of workers."

Addressing a sea of 35,000 people who crammed a downtown park on a chilly day, the Democratic presidential candidate noted blue-collar and manufacturing workers in the audience who waited hours to see him.

"That's whose president I want to be," he yelled, getting rousing cheers in response.

With stock markets diving, unemployment rising and Indiana alone losing 4,500 jobs in September, Obama argued that the country cannot afford a President McCain who "thinks the economic policies of George W. Bush are just right for America."

Obama referred to comments by McCain in a CNN interview on Wednesday, saying "he made kind of a strange argument that the best way to stop companies from shipping jobs overseas is to give more tax cuts to companies that are shipping jobs overseas."

Indiana, which has 11 electoral votes, hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1964, but polls show a tight race.

After the rally, Obama was scheduled to fly to Hawaii to see his ailing grandmother, 85-year-old Madelyn Payne Dunham, who helped raise him. She was recently released from a hospital and was said to be gravely ill after breaking a hip.

Obama was to spend Thursday night and most of today with her before resuming campaigning Saturday in Nevada.

Obama said the decision to go to Hawaii was easy, telling CBS that he "got there too late" when his mother died of ovarian cancer in 1995 at age 53, and wants now to make sure "that I don't make the same mistake twice."

"My grandmother's the last one left," he said.