Inside Politics

Farm teams

Flyover country is speaking out. Almost 3,000 “rural adults” were surveyed by Zogby International — revealing they favor Sen. John McCain over Sen. Barack Obama in the presidential matchup, 50 percent to 34 percent, respectively.

But heads up, Bob Barr, Ralph Nader, et al. The farm vote has some potential. Eleven percent of the respondents said they won’t vote for either aforementioned candidates and 5 percent are unsure who they want in the White House. Seventeen percent said they are “switching parties” from the one they favored in 2004.

“This coupled with the fact that Republicans are narrowly the party of choice for U.S. House and Senate races, with 47 percent for Republicans compared to 40 percent for Democratic candidates, shows that rural America is shaping up to be a battleground for votes this fall,” said Jack Odle, editor of Progressive Farmer magazine, which published the results Monday.

“Rural America is definitely in play this year and not in any one party’s pocket. Votes, particularly in congressional races, are up for grabs,” Mr. Odle said.

The survey of 2,963 heartland adults was conducted throughout the month of May and has a margin of error of two percentage points.

Air raid

“O-Force One” — an apt name for Sen. Barack Obama’s cushy campaign plane, suggested by CBS News correspondent Allison O’Keefe.

Name game

Serious fans of Sen. Barack Obama have adopted a “national Hussein campaign” to help reduce the “stigma” associated with the presumptive nominee’s middle name. Devotees are changing their middle names to “Hussein,” borrowing from the movie “Spartacus,” in which a batallion of warriors claim to be named Spartacus to protect the real guy from his Roman attacker.

Local college students like Jillian Hussein Boshart, Daniel Hussein Ready and Willy Hussein Richardson have taken the plunge, according to KXLY, an ABC affiliate in Spokane, Washington. So did Gary Don Ackerson, who is now Gary Hussein Ackerson.

“I’m a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant,” Mr. Ackerson said Monday. “I get strange remarks, even angry remarks.”

He’s stirred more than a bit of controversy among his conservative friends and family, KXLY said.

“My son said I was crazy. I want to get people to think, to talk, to vote,” the newly minted Hussein vowed.

If Mr. Obama wins the election, Mr. Ackerson says he’ll keep the name, but what if Mr. Obama loses?

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