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Column: Clinton campaigns in the Badlands
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Filed Under: Opinion

"What do you think inspired Hillary Clinton to get up Wednesday morning after five hours of sleep for an impromptu dash to look at four presidents’ heads carved on the side of a mountain?

Maybe it was as her staff claimed: She wanted to do it just for fun. “This is a tourist occasion,” she said firmly as she walked around the Mount Rushmore visitor’s plaza, trailed by a few dozen journalists.

Let’s hope so. She deserves a break, even if it consisted of staring up at the 20-foot-long nose of Thomas Jefferson and discussing beetle infestation in the spruce forests with the Native American guide while everyone else took pictures of their friends taking pictures of Hillary.

“I touched her!” screamed a middle-aged tourist.

South Dakota, which along with Montana is going to have the Last Primary on Tuesday, is certainly enjoying itself. “It’s like rocket fuel was spread over the state. There’s so much excitement,” said the executive director of the state Democratic Party.

The people here, like Hillary, can use a good moment. “We’re going to sing an encouragement song for our presidential hopeful, and also an encouragement song for our people,” said a traditional drummer at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a place where residents have nothing but endless affinity for a woman who just keeps on keeping on. It took more than four hours of driving for Clinton to speak to a crowd of less than 200, standing in a chilly wind, delivering one of her trademark lists of promises, from turning the Plains states into “the Saudi Arabia of wind farming” to creating a presidential tribal liaison."

Get the Story:
Gail Collins: A Good Day in the Badlands (The New York Times 5/29)
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