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Yee hah, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hit Wyoming

March 7, 2008 |  7:40 am

If this is March and people are traveling willingly TO Wyoming, then there must be an election going on.

Sure enough, the nation's least populated state is the destination today for just about everybody who's left competing for a presidential nomination, both of them. And the spouse of one of them was there yesterday.

In fact, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will both visit Vice President Dick Cheney's hometown of Casper today, not so much to honor him as to honor themselves and to seek support in this weekend's Wyoming caucuses. The windchill in Casper this morning was 12 degrees, which is...

I a major reason why Dick and Lynne Cheney -- indeed, 99.998 % of Americans -- live elsewhere.

So today's political events (Obama is going way south to Laramie too) likely won't be out in the park. Yesterday, Bill Clinton was also in Wyoming, a state he has loved ever since he reportedly took a poll when he was president to see where he should vacation and the answer came up Yellowstone.

You can bet your snowmobile it'll be a long time before this many Democratic presidential candidates campaign again in the Cowboy State, where a city of 50,000 makes up 10% of the entire state population -- not counting a couple million cattle. George W. Bush carried 22 of Wyoming's 23 counties in 2004 with up to 84% of the vote. The only county that Massachusetts Democrat won was Teton by 847 votes.

In fact, Wyoming hasn't gone for a Democratic presidential candidate in nearly a half-century since Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson overwhelmed the last Republican candidate from Arizona, Sen. Barry Goldwater, in 1964.

Many of Wyoming's Republicans don't mind the Democrats visiting today because, like sensible people, they're spending the winter down Interstate 25 in New Mexico or in its neighbor, John McCain's home state of Arizona.

The only reason Obama and Clinton I and II are there this week is because there are only about 600 Democratic delegates left to be had nationally and each of the candidates wants more than his or her fair share, even if it means smiling in the Wyoming wind for a day.

With the trout streams closed down until spring arrives this summer, the candidates' visits are huge local news. "I never imagined when I took this job," Bill Luckett wrote on his Democratic Party blog this week, "that we would see the day when the two front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination would hold events in Wyoming on the eve of our county caucuses. Not to mention the fact that one of them will almost certainly be president a year from now.

"And as an added bonus," he added, "the greatest president of the 21st Century (so far) would be touring the state to join in the fun." (Do you suppose that's an endorsement of that president's wife?)

You might think Hillary Clinton has a good shot in Wyoming. Given the equality engendered by the hardships of frontier life, it was the first state to grant women the right to vote and not long ago elected Rita Meyer state auditor, although, truth be told, she's a Republican who supported Mitt Romney.

There aren't many blacks in Wyoming -- less than 4,700 statewide -- for Obama to win 80% of. But he has shown unusual strength in caucus states all winter. And in Wyoming these days, it is definitely winter.

--Andrew Malcolm