by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Who Said It? & r & & r & "When the strongest nation in the world can be tied down... in a war... with no end in sight; When the richest nation in the world can't mange its own economy... and when the president of the United States cannot travel abroad or to any major city at home without fear of a hostile demonstration -- then it's time for new leadership for the United States... ." (Answer at the end of this column.)

Big Sky Moment

Who would've thought Montana -- with the last primary in the nation -- would get visits from the major candidates? But this year, with the Democrats ready to fight to the final buzzer, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have spent lots of time in the Big Sky State, where Democrats have been feeling better since Sen. John Tester broke the GOP's hold on Montana politics with a narrow win over Conrad Burns in 2006.

In April, Clinton visited Missoula and Butte, and she was back in Montana this week, with stops on the Flathead Indian Reservation and in Billings. Not to be outdone, Obama, who also visited Missoula and Butte in April, made stops in Billings, Bozeman and on the Crow Indian Reservation.

Still, John McCain seems to be in the driver's seat to win Montana's whopping three electoral votes in November. According to a Missoulian poll, McCain beats either Clinton (by 11 points) or Obama (by eight points). A Mason-Dixon poll of likely Democratic voters has Obama ahead of Clinton 52-35. Montana and South Dakota vote June 3.

Taking Shots

First it was President Bush calling out Barack Obama from Israel -- a move that only seemed to help Obama. Now it's Fidel Castro, who came out of retirement to criticize Obama's pledge to continue the trade embargo against Cuba -- again seeming to put Obama in world-leader status prematurely. If you're defined by whom you disagree with, Obama seems to have the right enemies. Now if he can just pick a fight with Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And The Answer Is...

Richard Milhous Nixon, on Aug. 9, 1968, in his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination at the Miami convention. In 40 years, it seems the parties have figured out how to completely swap places.

Evergreen State of Consciousness Five Year Anniversary @ Washington Cracker Co. Building

Sat., Jan. 28, 5 p.m.-1:45 a.m.
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