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Obama stops in red Idaho

From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
BOISE, ID -- Geography. So important yet so pesky, especially when you're a presidential candidate hitting between two to three states a day. Obama, perhaps tired from all the campaigning, told the crowd here not to trust "the rumors that have been trickling up to Iowa" about him.

Too bad he was in Idaho. He caught the mistake quickly. "And Idaho," he added in a heartbeat. "I know they trickled up to Iowa. I don't know if they trickled up to Idaho."

Running through a list of smears that are circulating about him, Obama also threw in that people are claiming that he's against the 2nd Amendment. "And then there are people who say I don't believe in the 2nd Amendment, though I come from a state... We got lot of hunters in the state of Illinois, and I have no intention of taking away folks' guns."

That comment reflects the bright red hue that Idaho is usually associated with, and the surprise that nearly 15,000 cheering people could show up for a Democratic candidate on an early Saturday morning at the Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University.

Obama, taken aback by the crowd, joked when he came on stage, "I thought they said there weren't any Democrats in Idaho!"

There are only 18 pledged delegates to be had in Idaho, but the campaign's goal in coming here is two fold. First in the scramble for delegates, even 18 can make a difference.  "We think every delegate counts, and it all ads up. If we do well in Idaho and Minnesota and Georgia, it's all delegates... It all adds up," Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

But she added that there was the pictorial message that the campaign wished to convey on February 6th as well -- that the campaign could win in diametrically opposed I-states like Idaho and Illinois, and also Georgia and Arizona and Minnesota, demonstrating that Obama is a candidate that could do well with a cross-section of the country.
 
Obama was introduced by former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus, who said he was the "guardian of their hopes" for the future.