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Barack Obama stumpers stop in Moose Lake

Moose Lake was the 24th and final stop Saturday afternoon in a week-long Minnesota "Heartland For Change," tour supporting Democratic Senator and Presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Moose Lake was the 24th and final stop Saturday afternoon in a week-long Minnesota "Heartland For Change," tour supporting Democratic Senator and Presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

The large Obama recreational vehicle was stationed just outside the event venue, Blacklock Photography Gallery; however, most people only gave it a cursory glance as they rushed inside the gallery and out of the pouring rain.

About 40 people turned out for an informal roundtable discussion on current issues amid the Obama T-shirts, lawn signs and posters. Obama's Minnesota Campaign Director, Jeff Blodgett, Assistant Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who have traveled with the Minnesota tour at different points, spoke on Obama's behalf.

Blodgett said stark differences exist between Presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain and that everyone's vote is more important that ever.

State Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick) and State Rep. Bill Hilty (DFL-District 8A) also made remarks in support of Obama before the event was turned over to the ideas and concerns of area citizens. Former State Sen. Becky Lourey also attended the event, although she did not speak.

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Area residents spoke of issues including overpopulation, global warming, taxes and a perception that Obama is not running an aggressive enough campaign.

Blodgett said most of the more "aggressive" ads are airing in targeted markets such as the swing state of Ohio.

"We are running an aggressive campaign overall," he said. "And although some of the advertising is not being seen by Minnesotans, that doesn't mean every vote here doesn't count. It does."

Susan Maricle of Bruno, Minn., told people of a Web site, www.obamataxcut.com , that will quickly show users how much Obama's plans will cut taxes for them. She was concerned that many people don't know the facts about the candidates and taxes. She said she attended the event because she wants to do something more than "snark at [her] computer."

That started a conversation about the idea that Republicans cut taxes while Democrats do not. This perception is a false one, according to Blodgett.

Another local in attendance created his own handouts that compared the policies of Obama and McCain, while still another created a plan for what he said would reduce global warming.

"Obama has a good start but he doesn't actually have it quite right, so I've come up with a plan," the man said, to some audience chuckling and clapping.

Patricia Grace, Moose Lake, wanted to learn the facts about Obama.

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"Sound bites are not enough in judging a candidate," she said.

The Heartland For Change tour also stopped in towns on the Iron Range on Friday and in Duluth on Saturday morning. It heads next to Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio.

Current polls show Obama and McCain tied in the race for the Presidency.

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