Sunday, November 25, 2007

"From marijuana to money, Obama gets questions"

The Swamp (Chicago Tribune's political blog):
AUDUBON, Iowa -- If anyone suspects the campaign for Sen. Barack Obama stages the questions he is asked at campaign events, just listen to a few of the quirky ones from the trail Saturday in Iowa.
After one on same-sex marriage, a woman here asked him what he is reading.

The Illinois Democrat first responded that he is reading a collection of speeches by Franklin Roosevelt because he is working on a few speeches of his own.

Then, he mentioned a book about some of the so-called lost children of Sudan.

Finally, he admitted his actual "favorite" reading. "I confess, though, I'm also reading the sports pages a lot," he said.

Next, a child asked him what currency his face would appear on.

"I don't know. That's a great question. Let's see, the five-dollar bill is taken. One-dollar bill is taken. Who's on the two-dollar bill? I don't know. But the truth is they don't put the president on money until long after you are dead, so I don't want to be on money anytime soon. Maybe 75, 80 years from now, I'll be on the hundred-dollar bill or something. That would be fine, elbow Benjamin Franklin aside."

He was also asked here whether he would legalize marijuana for medical use, something he said he would support only if science and doctors said it was the best way to relieve chronic pain and that it was carefully controlled.

That, of course, was followed by a question on whether he inhaled, when he used marijuana as a youth.

"I did," he said. "It's not something I'm proud of."

Still, he said he always questions the premise of the question. "That was the point," he said.

Throughout the day, Obama needled Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by alluding to her campaign recently getting caught for staging questions in front of audiences in Iowa.

"These questions are not pre-arranged," Obama said during an evening stop in Harlan, Iowa, where a toilet in an adjacent bathroom repeatedly flushed during his speech.

Earlier in the day, Obama had faced Norma Glassburner, 79, a retired teacher from Council Bluffs. She asked about several questions all at once, ranging from trade with China to crime to gun control to Cuban relations.

"I've got a lot of questions," Glassburner later admitted.

Still, Obama seemed to have won her over.

"What I like about him is that he will negotiate with those countries," she said. "I think we should talk to people."



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