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Barack Obama, Larry David and the fainting woman*

January 8, 2008 |  8:30 am

* Or, When not to crack a joke

As observed this morning by our colleague Maria La Ganga, who has spent so much time on the Obama campaign bus they're thinking about engraving her name on a seat:

Barack Obama's first and only rally on election day came to a sudden and lengthy stop when a young woman in the Dartmouth College gym fainted, and was eventually rolled off on a gurney by emergency medical technicians.

At first Obama half-narrated the episode, saying soothing things like, "She's OK," "She's talking." But the longer she lay on the floor, the quieter Obama got, standing on the podium, arms folded, looking worried as the medical crew worked.

A gum-chomping Larry David, in town to help with Obama's get-out-the-vote campaign, paced the edge of the student-filled gym, muttering. "How can I restrain myself?" he said to anyone who would listen. "I have such a great line.... Should I yell something out?"

Finally, he did: "Sinatra had the same effect on people!" "I was trying to break the tension," he said later. "I don't think they knew who Sinatra was."

La Ganga reports that the audience didn't laugh, while Obama seemed to snicker -- and looked even more uncomfortable.

-- Scott Martelle

UPDATE -- La Ganga reports that the young woman who passed out is a Dartmouth student. The college would not release her name, but said that she was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment.

"As far as we know, she's fine," said Genevieve Haas, college spokeswoman.

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