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Oregon College Town Delivers a Standing O

By Jonathan Weisman
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- After what even he described as "a turbulent couple of weeks," Sen. Barack Obama flew all the way across the country to get a little West Coast love ... okay, a lot of love.

With the endorsement of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in hand, Obama paid a dusk visit Friday night to the American Dream pizzeria in Corvallis, home to Oregon State University. It was back to Rock Star Obama, as the candidate was mobbed. Lauren Beyer, 23, gushed that she is planning to change her lifelong Republican registration so she can vote for him in the May 20 Democratic primary. "It's all about change. It's someone who can come and actually talk to America," she swooned, as Obama made his way slowly around the restaurant. "It's hope. It's hope."

Jerry Middel, 50, had already switched his party registration from independent to Democrat for Obama's sake.

"He had a good day after all this knocking around," he said, watching the pandemonium with a satisfied smile.

It was not all bad news for Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Lillian Vazquez may have been enjoying herself, but at 76, she said she can't be swayed from her Clinton allegiance. "She's a woman," she said simply. "It's about time."

But in the tough string of contests that will finish the grueling Democratic primary season, Oregon looks like one of the easiest for Obama -- so easy that it was hard not to wonder why he had diverted his campaign from the rough-and-tumble East Coast to this haven for a day-long swing.

"It's important that he's here," insisted Kevin Boyle, a 53-year-old labor management consultant. "And it's important that he's here first."

By Post Editor  |  March 21, 2008; 10:34 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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