My take on Barack Obama's appearance in Billings is at the Outpost website.
Side comment: A few days ago, 4&20 Blackbirds noted that the Clinton campaign was better attuned to Montana concerns than Obama's. That certainly seemed to be true on Monday. While Bill Clinton's talk here was full of Montana and Billings references, Obama scarcely mentioned either place. What's worse, he recognized stalwart State Sen. Kim Gillan as "Kim Gillis." That's gotta hurt.
Side comment II: I found Obama slightly less impressive a speaker in person than in his numerous TV sound bites. His delivery slips into something close to mumbling at times, and he struggled a bit with his new material about McCain's ties to lobbyists. Still, it was something to see. It was the youngest crowd I have ever seen at a Montana political event, I believe, and it is difficult to overstate the importance of his appeal to the young. Some old hands object that the young don't really understand the issues, but that misses the point. What they do understand is that the system isn't working, and Obama is connecting as the guy who has the best chance to fix it. If he is elected, no matter by how small a margin, he will have a mandate that neither other candidate could muster.