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Two-ring political circus

In Boise, you can hardly tell there’s a presidential race on — there are no ads and little fuss, since Idaho’s handful of electoral votes are virtually guaranteed to go to the Republican candidate.

But just six hours to the west, where I headed for a wind-surfing vacation in Oregon, the race is on.

At a tiny Thai restaurant on the Oregon Coast, the two guys at the next table ardently debated the candidates’ merits as military leaders — one was for Bush, the other for Kerry. Then, as we headed back from the Coast, to the Columbia River Gorge, freeways were shut down, police lights flashed, and helicopters hovered as President Bush traveled in a motorcade from the Portland Airport to a talk with a small-business group at a Beaverton high school.

At the same time, Democratic challenger John Kerry was addressing a huge rally and rock concert in downtown Portland’s Riverfront Park, and on the radio, I heard him say to cheers, “I’ve got three days in the Columbia River Gorge, and I’m going wind surfing!”

That explains the unusual billboard outside Hood River, pictured here, which shows a giant picture of Kerry wind-surfing, with the slogan, “Hood River welcomes John Kerry.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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