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So much for a 50-state Obama campaign. Now down to 46 max

Exactly 44 years after Lyndon B. Johnson became the last Democrat to capture the state of North Dakota in a presidential election, it looks like Barack Obama won't be the next.

The Associated Press reported this evening and an Obama spokeswoman confirmed that the Chicago-based campaign is pulling its 50-some staffers out of the heavily Republican state full of embittered small towns and shipping the workers east to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where the Democrat's prospects seem brighter and closer.

John Kerry did the best of recent Democrats there, getting 36% of the North Dakota vote in 2004 -- 3 percentage points more than Al Gore in 2000.

The abandonment of at least one Midwestern state by Obama comes as a new AP poll indicates that race could play a significant role in deciding a close national election. (See video.) Some experts

estimate the first African American candidate of a major party might be as much as 6 percentage points more ahead if he wasn't black.

Obama supporters hope that their months of work, 11 closing North Dakota field offices and widespread television advertising in the rural state may benefit down-ticket Democrats on Nov. 4. The Obama staff evacuation comes as early balloting is about to start there.

According to the AP, the McCain campaign has no staff or offices in North Dakota, another of those high Plains states where the livestock population far outnumbers the humans.

Few campaigns ever openly admit abandoning any state and some, like George W. Bush in 2000 and McCain this year, openly talk of competing in a state like California, as a feint to force their opposition to defend it unnecessarily.

Earlier, Obama halted television advertising in Georgia. Idaho was conceded a Democratic write-off early on, as is Alaska now, given the presence of its popular Republican Gov. Sarah Palin as the vice presidential running mate on the GOP ticket.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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some day north dakota will come to its senses.... and wonder just what the heck they are doing.... but right now.. I think they pretty much just ignore everything for the most part....

I sure hope the racist comments you have posted here get wide distribution in North Dakota. Maybe the next Senators elected there will be Republicans.

Are you sure you don't write for the Onion ?

So we know this because Obama said he was pulling out of 11 states?

I hope your foregin relations speech this week in New York will be different from the one you have been reading for the last 3 weeks. I am pretty sure they have all seen that show. You might want to show case your experience by telling them you have foreign relations experience because you can see Russia from AL.

Jacob- Say you were a man who wants his family to attend church but ... hmmm... which one?

"Well honey, there's this Reverend that the Clinton administration used to invite to the White House, Rev. Jeremiah Wright! Can't go wrong there, can we? I mean he gets invites to the White House, he must be good!"

"Nope, can't see that one blowing up in our faces, honey."

Now, I assume you are aware of John McCane's very close, public, and solid (as in he has yet to denunciate his actions) association with George Bush?

I had a neighbor who seemed to be a really nice guy. Always smiled, said hello, even helped me move a pile of lumber without my asking him once. Then one day he got busted for growing marijuana in his basement. Somebody I associated with! I was shocked! However, according to your logic, I'm no better than him.

Funny, I feel no compulsion whatsoever to start a marijuana grow op in my basement. Are you sure your logic isn't completely flawed?

Posted by: whynot | September 22, 2008 at 11:35 PM: I hope your foregin relations speech this week in New York will be different from the one you have been reading for the last 3 weeks. I am pretty sure they have all seen that show. You might want to show case your experience by telling them you have foreign relations experience because you can see Russia from AL.
I'm surprised you don't know that Palin is not giving a speech in New York. Maybe you should get your facts straight before making comments that are really silly.

It is funny how when the polls shifted by a few percentage points and voters started re-thinking if they could have really elect someone with absolutely no history or experience of leading as president that it suddenly was blamed on race. I guess the same people forgot to point out the fact that it was racism that got Obama the nomination of the Democratic Party. 96% of African Americans supporting Obama surely can’t be because he’s black… That’s not racist. Huh?? Just ask yourself, if 96% of Caucasians supported McCain, what would that say? Exactly. The fact is race is playing a role, but Obama is the benefactor of racist behavior not a victim.

Yes, the heavy vote and turnout during the primary from the African American community did give Obama more delegates (barely) than Clinton to win the primary. Let me ask you this, is there any question that a person who was the First Lady of Arkansas for 4 (?) years, First Lady of USA for 8 years, and has been a Senator from New York for over 8 years has more experience than Obama? No question in my mind. Is there any question that Clinton had more foreign policy credentials and knowledge of what would need to be done in the White House? None.

Instead a guy who sought to get in front of his Democratic colleagues stated that he would pull out the troops the day he got into the office. He didn’t meet the commanders or troops, but knew this was a way to score points. After getting hammered in a few debates and after Clinton announced that she would pull them out in 8-10 months after she came into office, Obama decided to say that he would do it in 6 months. He kept hammering her on this. Two days after Clinton dropped out, he changed his tune again, 16 months. Humm.. just two days. Well, when asked recently, he says that we’ll make a decision based on the conditions on the ground. So as a voter would I believe him? Wasn’t it so wrong to be there a single day longer, but its ok now that he’s got the nomination? No. I don’t believe him.

Similar thing has happened with taxes and healthcare. Have you heard him talk about universal health care recently? Suddenly it seems that’s not important…taxes are his focus. But it sure was the thing he couldn’t wait to jump back to whenever any other topic was brought up during the Democratic debates. Do I believe that he will actually make something happen? Not a bit. Do I believe him that taxes will only be rasied on people making 250K or more when his starting position was anyone making 100K or more, than went to 160K, then 200K. Humm… And as for jobs…let’s see, giving families equivalent of $1000 in tax cuts is going to create jobs?? How?? How did stimuls checks of $1200 or more per family help create jobs?? Furthermore, raise taxes on small-businesses that create 66% or more of the new jobs in the country doesn’t make sense either. I can’t believe that if your business is struggling in this economy to make it and the government says I’m going to take 3-10% of your revenues away from you, that it will lead to job growth. More like more job loss.

But none of this could be a factor in causing Obama to slide in polls. Fact is Obama is where he is today because he’s benefited from racist behavior from the African American population in particular.

"Like South Dakota and southern United States North Dakota has a history of racism against people of color in this case indians. (North Dakoa is a racist state). Only progressive politically when it comes to family farm money from uncle sugar. To their credit they have good senators from that state.

Posted by: Archie haase | September 22, 2008 at 12:30 PM "

And where did you get this information? Certainly you are not just assuming that because North Dakota has reservations, the entire state is racist, are you? ND has a history of racism? Also, Archie, perhaps instead of using your "edumacation of histery" you should buy a grammar book. It will help you a lot more than you know.

Come on people, North Dakota isn't racist. Has anyone claiming they are racist been there? I'll put my money on no.

I have been a North Dakota resident for 23 years and have volunteered with the Obama campaign since his announcement. What I have never understood is how we can be smart enough as a state to elect 3 representatives who are dems but cannot vote for a president who would be in our state's best interests. As I have called thousands and thousands of voters across the state, I would sadly have to agree that there are still many "racist" people across the state. I heard the "N" word numerous time and everything other negative label. The response I did receive from some was that they were shocked Obama would try to campaign but I would have to say the fact that he spent some time in our state he did win some voters. If ND does stay Red and McCain vetoes the Farm Bill (which he says repeatedly he will do) they will have no one to blame but themselves. I only hope if ND makes the mistakes to vote McCain-Palin other states will be able to have the smarts not to.

wake up american gun owners Obama record proves he will destroy the second amendmen t if elected you can find the facts

After turning himself in to authorities, 20-year-old David Kernell, son of Democratic Representative of Tennessee, Mike Kernell, is facing five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be charged for hacking into GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin’s personal E-mail account. It is alleged that after reading the contents, he took a screen shot and posted it on a public Web site. The contents included email addresses, pictures, birthdays, and phone numbers of family members and more. To top it off, after resetting the password, he also posted the new one he had created, which allowed others to access the E-mail account themselves. Nonetheless, Kernell pleaded not guilty to the charges. Facing a $250,000 fine is intense. At $1,500 per loan, it would take about 167 individual payday loans to cover that outrageous expense.
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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