Tim Leeds Havre Daily News email@example.com
A former Montana state representative and U.S. representative and senator made a stop in Havre Friday, Oct. 24, to urge people to get out and vote to support presidential candidate Barack Obama and the rest of the Democratic ticket. “It would help the state immensely, getting ownership of the Legislature, getting over the hump and getting over whatever happened in the last session,” John Melcher said before a group of local Democrats during a lunch presentation in Havre, adding that he is a Montana Democrat through-and-through. Melcher referred to reported high par t i sanship in the las t s tat e Legislature, which he said could be reduced if Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who is running against Republican state Sen. Roy Brown, is re-elected and a Democratic majority is elected to the House and Senate. Melcher, a super-delegate for the Montana Democratic Party, was traveling the state representing the Obama campaign as head of the state Democratic committee on senior citizens. Obama, an Illinois U.S. senator, faces Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the general election Nov. 4. Melcher, who served as a state representative before serving eight years in the U.S. House and 12 years in the U. S. Senate, is traveling the state campaigning for Obama and Democrats in general. He added that he hopes to make a stop in his hometown of Forsyth before the campaign tour is through. It is the latest in a series of campaigns for Obama that have included stops in Havre. One stop was by former Mississippi governor and ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ray Mabus and others have included U.S. Sen. Jon Tester stopping by to encourage people to get out and vote early. The Democratic campaign has had an amazing presence in the usually low-key Montana presidential campaign. Montana has voted for only one Democratic president Bill Clinton in 1992 in some three decades, but the Democratic candidates have been campaigning heavily here since April. On April 1, former President Bill Clinton started a Montana tour for his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y, in Havre. Later that week, both Hillary Clinton and Obama made a stop in Butte at the annual Mansfield-Metcalf dinner and made several other stops in the state before Obama defeated Clinton in the primary. Obama has returned to Montana since winning the primary, making a total of five stops in the state. His running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., also stopped in the state, campaigning in Kalispell. The Obama campaign has opened some 20 offices in the state, including in Havre, coordinating calling, campaigning and local events. By contrast, McCain has not come to Montana this campaign, and his campaign is coordinating its events with state Republican Party offices rather than opening its own offices. Melcher said Friday he came out in support of Obama early in the campaign, and he campaigned heavily Friday in support of the Illinois senator. “There is a stark di f ference between Obama and McCain on some very important issues,” he said. One issue he pressed was agricultural issues while McCain has always opposed the Farm Bill, which provides nutrition programs including school lunches and Food Stamps and the Women, Infants and Children program as well as providing programs for U.S. agricultural producers, Obama has always supported it, Melcher said. Melcher also said their difference on the Iraq war has been a key difference for him McCain has generally supported the war, although differing on policy with President Bush at times, and wants to maintain a presence there while Obama wants to set a timetable to withdraw the U.S. troops. He said that as a U.S. veteran Melcher served under Gen. George S. Patton in the 3rd U.S. Army in Europe during World War II, the same as Obama’s grandfather he takes issue with McCain saying his experience as a veteran and former prisoner of war during the Viet Nam Conflict that he knows how the country should deal with the Iraq war. “He is a war hero and deserves our respect ,” Melcher said of McCain, adding that he was “a little miffed” when he heard McCain say, “I know war.” “Well, I know it too,” Melcher said.