Tim Leeds Havre Daily News email@example.com
Havre is once again being visited by a national campaigner, with a former governor and foreign ambassador holding meetings in town tonight and Thursday morning to campaign for presidential candidate Barack Obama. Ray Mabus, governor of Mississippi from 1988-1992 and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996, will hold a Town Hall meeting at the Eagles Club in Havre from 8-9 p. m. today, and a breakfast with local political leaders from 9:30- 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The location of the breakfast had not been set this morning. Mabus’ tour, showing an unheard-of focus on Montana for a presidential race, includes stops across some 200 miles of the state. Mabus will start with a meeting in Shelby from 5:30- 6:15 p.m. before coming to Havre, then travel to Fort Benton Thursday for a lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Bob’s Riverfront Casino and a meeting in Lewistown from 5-6 p.m. Mabus will discuss the situation on Wall Street, including Obama’s demand that any bailout focus on the people of America on Main Street as well as on Wall Street a press release from the Obama campaign said. Mabus will take questions about Obama’s plans for the country’s farmers and ranchers, ending the U.S. dependence on foreign oil and “Obama’s plan to help rural communities and small towns get back on track,” the release said. Mabus, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, was a legal counsel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture early in his career. After Hurricane Katrina hit the United States in 2005, Mabus founded the Help and Hope Foundation to help children who survived the storm and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. Awards he has received include the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award from the King Center in Atlanta. Mabus’ visit highlights a national presidential campaign with more attention paid to Montana than any in recent memory. In Havre, the focus started with President Bill Clinton visiting Havre on April 1 and making four other stops that day to campaign for his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, while she faced Obama in the Democratic primary. The Illinois senator defeated Clinton to win the nomination, including a 57 percent to 42 percent victory in Montana. Both candidates campaigned in Montana, including attending the annual Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner in Butte on April 5, and returning to the state several times. Obama has been to Montana five times, including two stops after the primary, and his vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., campaigned in Kalispell on Sept. 6, The grassroots campaign for Obama has opened 20 offices in Montana, including in Havre, and has more than 14,000 active volunteers, the Obama campaign said. The offices have coordinated activities including registering voters, holding canvases, and holding convention-watching and debate-watching activities. While McCain has yet to visit Montana during this campaign, his offices say the campaign has also been active in the state. Tom Steward, McCain representative in St. Paul, Minn., said Wednesday that the McCain ticket is working on a coordinated campaign with the state Republican Party. Along with the state party office in Helena, party offices are located in Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula, he said. The campaign has also organized leadership groups involving veterans, sportsmen and students, Stewart said, including canvassing, registering voters and coordinating parties around the state to watch the Republican National Convention and the presidential and vice-presidential debates.