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The Union Leader - Obama Woos Supporters in Peterborough Fields

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Location: Peterborough, NH

The Union Leader - Obama Woos Supporters in Peterborough Fields

By Nancy Foster

PETERBOROUGH -- At least a thousand spectators and supporters of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama crowded onto the Old Jaffrey Road property of Terry Reeves and David Baum yesterday to hear the Democratic Presidential candidate.

As milkweed seeds floated on the air and Aretha Franklin music set the mood, Obama emerged from a convoy of black SUVs to share his vision with those who readily support him, and those who have yet to make up their minds about whom they would like to see leading the country.

"It's a blessing to have the access to the candidates that we do here in New Hampshire," said Reeves before she introduced Obama, "but with that blessing comes responsibility. We have to do our homework and get to know these candidates." Obama, who said he is struggling with a head cold and not intentionally mimicking Elmer Fudd, applauded the makeup of the crowd that came to see him. Old, young, black, white, Latino, even babies were in the audience, and in addition to Democrats and Independents, there were a few Republicans as well.

"I know this because when they shake my hand they whisper, 'I'm a Republican, but I support you,'" he said.

The reason that Obama believes he's getting such a rock-star reception at events is an established, and still growing, frustration among voters with the leadership of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

"The Bush administration has been a great advertisement for the Democratic Party," Obama said, eliciting laughter and applause from the audience.

But Obama warned that it is not enough for voters to simply cast their ballots against the current administration.

"We need to fundamentally change how we do our politics," Obama said. "Instead of sending someone to Washington who plays a good game, we need to put an end to the game playing in politics."

Obama's speech was interrupted briefly when a spotlight caught fire. He pointed out the problem and suggested a solution.

"Do we want to turn that off?" he said, and when the light went dark, he turned to the audience, announcing, "We handled that crisis."

Despite Obama's obvious appeal with the audience, some voters walked away happy, but not yet convinced.

"I still want to know what he has to say about supporting a single-payer health care system," said Julie Flood Page of Rindge. "I want a seamless health care system that covers everyone cradle to grave."

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