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My grandfather was a politician of some local reknown back in the '50's and '60's. Also very active in a variety of statewide civic organizations. Through these contacts, he got to know Virginia Senator Harry Byrd, but they lost contact after my grandfather had a series of strokes and pretty much was a mental invalid for the last ten years of his life.

About a year before he died, Senator Byrd came to the speak at the local dedication of a bandstand. Was surrounded by throngs of admirers after the speech, but immediately spotted my grandmother and singled her out for personal attention. Knew the nursing home my grandfather was at, how long he had been there. Was an impressive performance.

Hadn't thought of that story for years until I read this in yesterday's paper:

"Half an hour after three networks called Virginia in his column, Obama placed a telephone call at about 7:30 p.m. to Charlottesville resident Betty Van Yahres to express his condolences over the death Friday of her husband, former Del. Mitchell Van Yahres.

"I almost fell over," Van Yahres said an hour after she took Obama’s call. "He made my day. I’ve been sad."

Obama had read that the obituary for the former Charlottesville mayor and 24-year delegate had included a sentence asking friends "to make a healthy and significant contribution to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.""

Or maybe, more cynically, neither Byrd or Obama have the touch, just clever and throrough staff members. Regardless, it's probably
one of the few times you'll ever see Obama and arch segregationsist Harry Byrd compared favorably.

(quoted material from

Originally posted to gauchova1amigo on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 09:44 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nice story! (0+ / 0-)

    "The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. It was a small part of the pantomime." Wallace Stevens

    by mobiusein on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 10:02:58 AM PST

  •  Whether it's Obama or his staff (0+ / 0-)

    I think there is an attitude in his campaign that everyone is important.

    (- 4.63, - 5.18) Truth is incontrovertible, ignorance can deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is. --Winston Churchill

    by mkfarkus on Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 10:19:48 AM PST

  •  You know what's weird? (0+ / 0-)

    Neighborhoods which I would normally be worried about walking through late at night, I feel perfectly comfortable strolling trough with the Obama campaign pill on my chest and canvassing materials in my hand.

    Everyone just seems so happy to see me!

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