Yesterday as I sat on Trax, I still had my Trib with me. The man sitting across from me, who would fit the statistical bill if I had to stereotype an LDS Republican, glimpsed a headline and said, "I'm a little surprised that Obama would come to Utah."
What did that mean? "Why?"
"It's pretty much a Republican state."
Living in our own private Idaho, are we? "Well, there's a Democratic primary, too." Surprise!
An African American gentleman sitting next to me spoke up. "Obama's coming here?"
"Yeah," I nodded. "On Saturday."
"Where's he gonna be?"
"At the University, isn't it?" Republican guy said.
"I think that's Clinton's daughter," I said. "I think she's going to be up at the U." Pointing at the newspaper, "This article says the details on Obama aren't known yet. But I assume we'll know within a day or two."
Demonstrating some awareness of Democratic activities, Republican guy said, "Didn't President Clinton come here, too?"
"Bill Clinton? He spoke at the U, I think."
He then said, "I'm still surprised that Obama's coming here."
"Well, you know, I was originally opposed to these primaries, but it has brought attention to the state," I admitted. "At least by the Democrats. We know that Romney has the Republican vote sewn up."
"Do you think Obama can really win here?"
Why wouldn't he? "The last poll I saw showed Clinton only up by about 10 points here," I replied. "Maybe a personal visit closes the gap. I don't really know how these things work."
A pause, then GOP Guy piped up again. "I'm not sure who I would vote for at this point."
"It's nice to have choices, isn't it?"
"Romney seems to have potential." Ah, I wondered when he would get around to it.
"I do think he's the smartest of the Republican candidates," I replied.
He explored a little further. "I thought he did a good job running the Olympics."
"I did, too."
"And he ran a successful business."
A shrug. "I guess. He sliced a lot of jobs to do it. It was probably a smart thing to do, but it's easier to downsize than to keep jobs, I guess."
Sorry, Guy, no sale here. It's Hillary or Obama for this blogger. However, unlike a lot of the folks in D.C., we can still be polite. As we neared our stop, I said, "This is the most exciting race that I can remember, on both sides. It's fun."
Yeah, it is, he agreed, and we wished each other the proverbial nice day as we stepped off the train. I know that "How 'bout them Jazz?" is the usual icebreaker for strangers, but it's nice to know that politics can do the trick, too.