Obama Celebrates Holiday in GOP Country

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BUTTE, Montana -- Barack Obama is celebrating Independence Day in Butte, Montana. He will take part in a parade and picnic.

The Treasure State usually gives its three electoral votes to a Republican. Since 1948, only two Democrats have carried the state.

The last Democrat to win the state with no assistance from a spoiler was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, when he beat out Barry Goldwater.

GOP candidates usually take the state for granted and Democrats don't spend much time campaigning there, but Obama will spend big bugs and lots of time trying to win it. He has already hired a state director and is running TV ads.

"Montana is considered one of the very competitive states," Obama spokesman Caleb Weaver said.

"He is the kind of candidate that has shown he can run competitively in these types of states because of his ability to attract new people to the process," Weaver said. "Sen. Obama is an independent figure. He is very attractive to the independent-minded spirit of Montanans."

Meanwhile, McCain has not visited Montana yet and has not setup shop there.

"In my book, McCain still has to be the favorite in Montana," political scientist Craig Wilson, Wilson said. "Yes, Obama could win it. It just seems like a long shot."

The McCain campaign is confident.

"The more often Barack Obama travels to Montana, the more voters will be reminded of why they disagree with him on the issues they care about most," said McCain spokesman Tom Steward.

Obama will spend the day in Butte. Sen. John McCain is back home will spend the Fourth of July with his family in Arizona. He just wrapped up a trip to Colombia and Mexico.

Source: The Associated Press

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