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Obama Greeted Warmly at Famous Site

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Location: Claremont, NH


Obama Greeted Warmly at Famous Site

By Beverley Wang

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama had little difficulty winning over the audience at a senior center made famous by the husband of his biggest rival.

The Illinois senator spoke Friday at the Earl M. Bourdon Senior Center where former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich shook hands in 1995 and promised to create a bipartisan commission on campaign finance reform. The commission never materialized.

"I know this is a pretty famous spot," Obama said. "I think it's wonderful this place has that history."

The crowd waited an hour for Obama to arrive and swarmed him for autographs after he spoke.

"By the way, you had us from your first hello," said Carol Thebarge, who went on to ask Obama about President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

The subject of Iraq also produced the event's most contentious moment, when a man compared Bush to Hitler and unsuccessfully pressed Obama to do the same.

"I wouldn't draw those analogies," Obama said. "I think this campaign season offers us an opportunity for a fresh start."

But he repeated his call for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who has been criticized for the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Obama noted that he had voted against confirming Gonzales.

"What I said was, 'This is a guy who sees himself as George Bush's lawyer as opposed to the people's lawyer," he said.


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