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Obama's Private Idaho

Updated 5:51 p.m.
By Alec MacGillis
BOISE -- It seemed a curious tactical decision. With three days to go before Super Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama was traveling to Idaho, one of the most sparsely populated and heavily Republican states in the country. Sure, the campaign wanted to demonstrate Obama's appeal in "red states," for the purposes of arguing his electability in November, but still...Idaho?

Today, the Gem State did its best to vindicate the decision. More than 14,000 people turned out to pack the Boise State University Taco Bell Arena, many waiting in lines outside for more than an hour in the morning cold. That is nearly three times the number who turned out for the state's Democratic caucuses in 2004.

"They told me there weren't any Democrats in Idaho. That's what they told me," Obama said on taking the stage, as the crowd roared. "I didn't believe them."

To be sure, plenty of folks in the crowd were independents and Republicans. But their presence only helped Obama make his case that he would be able to attract converts in November. "If you know who you are and who you're fighting for, what and your principles are, you can afford to reach out," he said. "I'm not ashamed to talk with those who disagree with me, but I think we can disagree without being disagreeable."

Obama was not shy about tailoring his stump speech for the setting, adding a line to rebut any fears that he is aggressively pro-gun control, an issue he almost never mentions on the trail. He urged the crowd not to listen to "people who say, 'He doesn't believe in the Second Amendment.' We've got a lot of hunters in Southern Illinois and I've got no intention of taking away people's guns."

In a nod to the state's large Mormon population, he also offered "thoughts and prayers" in memory of Gordon Hinckley, the church's leader, whose funeral is today in Utah. (The funeral was the reason Obama decided to come to Idaho today, instead of heading to Utah, the red state he had initially planned to visit.)

He also made the inevitable slip of the sleep-deprived politician, twice calling the state "Iowa" by mistake. But that did not seem to dampen the crowd's appreciation for his having made a trip few other Democrats do.

Tyler Fortunati, a 25-year-old state government employee, suspected that many had turned out simply to reward Obama for making the effort to come. "To have someone liberal come to the state of Idaho and show interest in us, that's why a lot of people are here, to show that we support him coming to a state like this."

Added Katie Sewell, who works in the university's small business development center: "It's amazing. It's the most Republican state in the country and look at this crowd. It can sort of feel hopeless being here and not believing what the majority here does, but this gives me hope."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 2, 2008; 1:01 PM ET
 
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Comments

"I was in the audience in Boise when Obama mistakenly said Iowa instead of Idaho. The error evoked laughter from the crowd. I wondered if he or his people understood the laughter. Idahoans are often asked if Idaho is next to Iowa. It has been a running gag for many years. We took this in good humor."

I was born and raised in Idaho and take such idiotic questions as a sign of the pathetic state of education in the rest of the United States. I was taught in school the location of every state as well as the names of the capitals and can STILL label them all on a blank map. It's a pity not every American can benefit from an Idaho education.

Posted by: smahayes | February 6, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

HILLARY HANDS REPUBLICANS A POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING SOUNDBITE FOR NOVEMBER ELECTION ...

IN THE 1990s, HILLARY'S POLITICAL TIN EAR AND HER SECRETIVE HEALTH CARE PLAN HELPED HAND CONTROL OF THE CONGRESS TO THE GOP.

IS THE PAST PROLOGUE?

Feb 3, 11:40 AM EST

Clinton health plan may mean tapping pay

By CHARLES BABINGTON
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she might be willing to garnish the wages of workers who refuse to buy health insurance to achieve coverage for all Americans.

The New York senator has criticized presidential rival Barack Obama for pushing a health plan that would not require universal coverage. Clinton has not always specified the enforcement measures she would embrace, but when pressed on ABC's "This Week," she said: "I think there are a number of mechanisms" that are possible, including "going after people's wages ..."

"GOING AFTER PEOPLE'S WAGES" ...

IS THAT THE WAY REAL DEMOCRATS TALK? ...

THE REPUBLICANS WILL KILL THE DEMOCRATS' CANDIDATES WITH THE KIND OF ARROGANT, CONFISCATORY PROGRAM PROPOSED BY HILLARY CLINTON ...

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 4, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Even further to p_seshadri's comments... Rezko is certainly a non-issue, but to those such as brigittepj who insist that it is, it seems that Obama isn't the only one with some kind of connection to Rezko. Check out the photo of the Clintons with Rezko here: http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2008/01/hillary-clinton-tony-rezko-dnc-contribution.php

Posted by: Valicious2 | February 3, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I was in the audience in Boise when Obama mistakenly said Iowa instead of Idaho. The error evoked laughter from the crowd. I wondered if he or his people understood the laughter. Idahoans are often asked if Idaho is next to Iowa. It has been a running gag for many years. We took this in good humor.

Posted by: jpotter881 | February 3, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

This strategy is definitely yet another piece of evidence that Obama is an unconventional politician. Going to Idaho 3 days before the most important election of his life? At first, it's unbelievable. With a closer look, it's genius. Going to Idaho sends a message to the *world* that he is an agent of change and a bringer of a fundamentally fresh approach to politics. Idaho is symbolic. Obama is well on his way to win California (and he will) and I would suggest he'll be close enough in other key states that now, with all the other symbolic Idahos out there on his side, Clinton will be only a minor obstacle. I almost feel bad for Clinton. But only almost. VOTE ON TUESDAY!!!!!!!! (for Obama!)

Posted by: amcleran | February 3, 2008 3:03 AM | Report abuse

AMEN TO BARACK OBAMA,YES I BELIEVE IN OWNING A GUN WE HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS DYING OUT THERE BECAUSE AMERICANS CAN NOT TAKE CARE OF THEMSELFS. YES THEY SHOULD BE SCREENED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPETENT HANDS.AND YES I BELIEVE IN JESUS.
THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR HUNTING,GUN EVENTS,SELF PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND FAMILY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOME AND YOU FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, JESUS IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE TO HELP YOU .
BARACK OBAMA 08 *=

Posted by: USA2 | February 3, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

AMEN TO BARACK OBAMA,YES I BELIEVE IN OWNING A GUN WE HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS DYING OUT THERE BECAUSE AMERICANS CAN NOT TAKE CARE OF THEMSELFS. YES THEY SHOULD BE SCREENED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPETENT HANDS.AND YES I BELIEVE IN JESUS.
THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR HUNTING,GUN EVENTS,SELF PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND FAMILY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOME AND YOU FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, JESUS IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE TO HELP YOU .
BARACK OBAMA 08 *=

Posted by: USA2 | February 3, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

AMEN TO BARACK OBAMA,YES I BELIEVE IN OWNING A GUN WE HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS DYING OUT THERE BECAUSE AMERICANS CAN NOT TAKE CARE OF THEMSELFS. YES THEY SHOULD BE SCREENED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPETENT HANDS.AND YES I BELIEVE IN JESUS.
THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR HUNTING,GUN EVENTS,SELF PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND FAMILY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOME AND YOU FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, JESUS IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE TO HELP YOU .
BARACK OBAMA 08 *=

Posted by: USA2 | February 3, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

AMEN TO BARACK OBAMA,YES I BELIEVE IN OWNING A GUN WE HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS DYING OUT THERE BECAUSE AMERICANS CAN NOT TAKE CARE OF THEMSELFS. YES THEY SHOULD BE SCREENED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPETENT HANDS.AND YES I BELIEVE IN JESUS.
THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR HUNTING,GUN EVENTS,SELF PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND FAMILY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOME AND YOU FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, JESUS IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE TO HELP YOU !!!
BARACK OBAMA 08 *=

Posted by: USA2 | February 3, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

AMEN TO BARACK OBAMA,YES I BELIEVE IN OWNING A GUN WE HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS DYING OUT THERE BECAUSE AMERICANS CAN NOT TAKE CARE OF THEMSELFS. YES THEY SHOULD BE SCREENED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPETENT HANDS.AND YES I BELIEVE IN JESUS.
THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR HUNTING,GUN EVENTS,SELF PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND FAMILY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOME AND YOU FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, JESUS IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE TO HELP YOU !!!
BARACK OBAMA 08 *=

Posted by: USA2 | February 3, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

AMEN TO BARACK OBAMA,YES I BELIEVE IN OWNING A GUN WE HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS DYING OUT THERE BECAUSE AMERICANS CAN NOT TAKE CARE OF THEMSELFS. YES THEY SHOULD BE SCREENED TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPETENT HANDS.AND YES I BELIEVE IN JESUS.
THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR HUNTING,GUN EVENTS,SELF PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND FAMILY BECAUSE IF SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOME AND YOU FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, JESUS IS NOT GOING TO BE THERE TO HELP YOU !!!
BARACK OBAMA 08 *=

Posted by: USA2 | February 3, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

I saw the Obama speech in Boise this morning. I was reminded of a speech I saw at a rally for Kennedy in 1960. However, these years are a lot more vital than in 1960. We may have a leader that can define progress in a new way. He stood up there and talked to us as if we were intelligent. A black man for President? YOU BET!! Out with the old, in with the new. I was proud of Boise, and all that were there knew they had seen a new light.

Posted by: sullivan1212 | February 2, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

This is why Obama should be the nominee.

"I'm not ashamed to talk with those who disagree with me, but I think we can disagree without being disagreeable."

And this is why Clinton should not.

From Brad DeLong who worked in the Clinton administration.

"My two cents' worth-and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994-is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

"So when senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate. And when substantive objections were raised to the plan by analysts calculating the moral hazard and adverse selection pressures it would put on the nation's health-care system...

"Hillary Rodham Clinton has already flopped as a senior administrative official in the executive branch-the equivalent of an Undersecretary. Perhaps she will make a good senator. But there is no reason to think that she would be anything but an abysmal president."

Posted by: chrisbmyh | February 2, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Sure as shooting Obama's staff has the Wash. Post comments site tied up!

Between Resko' money and Obama's VP choice, name begins with "O' AND ENDS WITH money - WHAT IS IN THE MIDDLE i DO NOT KNOW! jUST MIGHT BE THE pOWERFUL tEDDY AND DEVOTED cAROLYN, SOME rEP. WHO WANT oBAMA TO BE NOMINATED SO THAT THE GOP CAN STEP IN . 4 Years down the road, cause this guy (Smarty pants) will not be able to pull it off. Someone better throw him a Life Jacket. The waters are pretty deep for someone who cannot swim!

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | February 2, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Sure as shooting Obama's staff has the Wash. Post comments site tied up!

Between Resko' money and Obama's VP choice, name begins with "O' AND ENDS WITH money - WHAT IS IN THE MIDDLE i DO NOT KNOW! jUST MIGHT BE THE pOWERFUL tEDDY AND DEVOTED cAROLYN, SOME rEP. WHO WANT oBAMA TO BE NOMINATED SO THAT THE GOP CAN STEP IN . 4 Years down the road, cause this guy (Smarty pants) will not be able to pull it off. Someone better throw him a Life Jacket. The waters are pretty deep for someone who cannot swim!

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | February 2, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I live a mile and a half from the Obama home that Bridgette claims has the "smell of Rezko". Around here we've known Obama's unimpeachable integrity for years: believe us--Rezko is a non-issue.

Hyde Parker

Posted by: book | February 2, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey brigittepj,

I'll see your Rezko and raise you a Hsu. Better yet, a Whitewater. Oh, and also Juanita Broaddick. Oh, and impeachment. Oh, and the definition of the word "is." In the word of your would-be first laddie, GIVE-ME-A-BREAK. The Chicago Tribune looked the Rezko affair up and down and found squat. Get over it, your candidate is ten times as corrupt as Obama, and she and her red-faced hubby are on the way out.

Posted by: p_seshadri | February 2, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I am a former "Carrot Snapper" ( the Idaho nickname for Utah people) and Idaho is the home of the "Potato Heads"
( The Utah name for Idaho people). I would encourage all
carrot snappers and potato heads to use your minds and vote for Barack Obama. I know the pressure you people feel to "conform" but this election is too critical to vote just to please "tradition"

Posted by: eSPO1 | February 2, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I disagree about a "breath of fresh air". I smell Rezko. Darn, I wish the Press would air out that laundry:)

Posted by: brigittepj | February 2, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

JohnAdams1: Senator Obama (and I hate to add Senator Clinton for personal reasons) are two of the co-sponsors of legislation to help prevent election fraud that has been part of past elections. Is it so hard for people to believe that people simply like Senator Obama based on his merits and promises to give us what we want from government? "OF, FOR and BY the people". Not Of for and by Hoffman La Roche, Dubai to name two. We, the people...not they the rulers we the pheasants.

The government elected to SERVE us not DICTATE to us. Obama is a breath of fresh air after years of stinky corruption.

Posted by: alyceclover | February 2, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama:

"...there's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

One Nation...Yes we can!

Posted by: brodier | February 2, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama plays to the new western democrats like Jon Tester in Montana. Pragmatic problem solvers not weighed down by ideology. The far Right will try to paint him as a "liberal", the far Left will say he's not progressive enough and most voters are tired of the stalemate. End the Drama, Vote Obama!!

Posted by: thebobbob | February 2, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"To be sure, plenty of folks in the crowd were independents and Republicans, who will not be allowed to participate in the Democratic caucuses, under state party rules."

WRONG! From the Idaho State Democratic Party website:

"Do I need to register as a Democrat to participate in the Democratic Caucus?

In Idaho, there is no party registration. When you sign-in at the door, the form that you will sign will state that you are a Democrat. However, no one will be turned away because of their personal party affiliation and this information is not registered with the State. Everyone-whether Republican, Independent or Democrat-is welcome to participate in the Caucus."

http://tinyurl.com/23w9sy


At this point, Idaho has open primaries and voter registration does not include party affiliation. The Republican Party of Idaho is currently suing the State to close the primaries.

Posted by: idagreen13 | February 2, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

MASSIVE NEWS
THE LATINO NEWSPAPER LA OPINION ENDORSED OBAMA
the most important newspaper endorsement out there. Not because it's the most prestigious name or the widest read, but because it offers the potential to actually move voters. Obama is working overtime to introduce himself as a champion of Latino interests and immigrant rights, and this represents a powerful affirmation from an influential voice within the Hispanic community.
http://laopinion.com/editorial/index_en.html

Posted by: laplumelefirmament | February 2, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The powers that be are fixing the voting machines and planning for an obama victory.

hey with republicans like Susan Eisenhower & Mike Bloomberg can the other republicans endorsements be far behind.

Is this the first time republicans have endorsed a democrat with the intent to benefit him?

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | February 2, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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