Montana Senator John Tester on Sarah Palin

I showed up at the Londonderry, New Hampshire headquarters of Stonyfield Yogurt for a Jeanne Shaheen campaign appearance. While loitering around the pastel-colored employee cafeteria, I helped myself (on invitation) to a free strawberry smoothie (delicious!) and a Greek yogurt with honey, which I was finishing when Shaheen arrived with Senator John Tester of Montana.

Tester, who was elected in 2006 is an organic farmer and is in touch with the kind of Western blue collar voter with whom Sarah Palin is supposed to appeal. I asked him how he thought she would play in his home state, up for grabs in the 2008 presidential election. Here’s what he told me:

I don’t know.…I don’t know Sarah Palin any more than you do. I saw her on t.v. I do know Joe Biden. Joe Biden is a great guy. He’s got incredible skills to be president. That’s what it’s about. You’ve got to look at the skill level. I think ultimately this race needs to be about Obama and McCain. I think McCain’s decision process on picking somebody from a small town, far, far, far less experienced than I, even more less experienced than Barack Obama, I don’t think bodes well. How…she’s going play, I don’t know. It depends on how they’re going to market her.

Given Tester’s unique personality among the Democrats, I think we’ll see a lot of him on the campaign trail both throughout the West and rural areas, in general.


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