Smaller towns targeted by presidential contenders

He could be the next President of the United States, but Thursday night, he was just one of the guys at the V.F.W. in North Liberty.

"Beer's on me! Come on, what are you having?” said U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama. “I’m going to have a bud (Budweiser).”

The presidential campaigns appear to be veering further and further off the beaten path, as they continue to travel the campaign trail in Indiana.

Lately, it seems that no town is too small in the search for support.

“Nothing like this happens in Liberty,” said a woman who was waiting in the V.F.W. parking lot.

On the contrary, it was perhaps a sign that anything can happen in 2008 as two Democratic presidential contenders look to make their mark on Indiana.

Among the items Senator Obama autographed during Thursday night’s visit: a softball, a t-shirt, and a young girl’s arm.

While the folks in the hall saw Senator Obama walk in the door they might not have believed their eyes, judging by the number of pictures the candidate was forced to pose for.

“I hadn’t intended on voting for Mr. Obama but I might reconsider,” said Sandy Szynski of North Liberty.

As Obama made his way up to the bar, he proclaimed “beer’s on me, come on, what are you having? …I’m going to have a Bud.”

While some have stood in line for hours just to get a peek at Senator Obama across a crowded room, folks in North Liberty sat back in the comfort of their own club as the candidate landed in their lap.

“We’re just common people,” said Harl Shafer, V.F.W. Post Commander. “We’re here to work in a small community with everybody, this was great today, this was awesome.”

While Senator Obama’s surprise visit to North Liberty is just a memory, the fun has yet to begin for the City of Plymouth, population about 10,000.

“This is the biggest thing since Scott Skiles,” said Plymouth High School Assistant Principal Dr. Elizabeth Ratliff.

For a high school that loves its basketball and hometown l hero Scott Skiles, it’s suddenly a whole new ball game.

Preparations are being made to host a former President, Bill Clinton.

While Clinton’s campaign stop in Plymouth isn’t a surprise, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t surprising.

“I can’t imagine that we, anyone thought that they would actually call Plymouth and say hey, we’re driving through town, why don’t you have us up?” said Ratliff.

“I think it is a big deal, not only the campaign side, it’s a big deal for our students to have contact with a former president.
The town hall meeting in Plymouth is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis.

The event is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

The population in Plymouth is about 10,000. It is one of several smaller cities on former President Clinton’s Saturday schedule. The list also includes Angola, population 7,300; and Warsaw, population 12,000.

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