The Washington Times - October 4, 2008, 11:02PM

Sen. Barack Obama plans to do debate prep in Asheville, North Carolina in anticipation of the Tuesday face-off with Sen. John McCain.



He arrived tonight and dropped in to surprise the local Democratic Party, which was having a dinner.


According to the pool report, some Democrats heard rumors Obama would be a surprise guest, so tickets sold fast, but people were still excited.


One eyebrow raising moment: Gov. Mike Easley needled 72-year-old McCain:


“It’s one thing to be a maverick. It’s another to be a stubborn old mule,” he said before introducing Obama.


“I heard there was a good party going on around here. I heard there were a bunch of people here who decided to turn North Carolina blue. I hope you don’t mind me crashing the party. I have to say if there’s a prettier state than North Carolina I have not seen it yet,” Obama said, according to the pool report.


He added, “I confess that I haven’t been to Alaska,” and someone shouted from the back of the room: “You can see it from Russia.”


Obama talked a bit about the shift of reliably red North Carolina into the toss-up column for Nov. 4.


“When we started this campaign, we said we were going to change the political map. And people said, no it can’t be done. And we kept coming down to North Carolina. And people said, what’s he doing spending so much time in North Carolina,” Obama said.


“And we had a few bumps in the road during the primary season, and it turns out the people of North Carolina decided we’re going to lift up the Obama campaign … maybe we should just keep on coming to North Carolina,” he said, as the crowd cheered. “Despite the pundits, despite the prognosticators, despite the cynicism, turned out 30 days out, we are right here in the hunt in North Carolina.”


Christina Bellantoni , national political reporter,
The Washington Times


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