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Battleground fatigue: A letter from Columbus

By James Oliphant
Tribune correspondent

October 28, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Here’s one random sampling from a battleground state, with some margin for error.

“I just want it to end,” my father says. “Make it stop.”

The phone has just rung, and he knows the number. Knows not to answer. “It’s just them,” he mutters.

“Them,” by the way, is a non-partisan designation. When it comes to wanting to be left alone, my father is politically agnostic. It really isn’t his fault. He’s lived here going on 40 years and has watched, helplessly, as his once-sleepy town sprouted up around him, went major-league and now is suffering the consequences of being the most divided large city in one of the most divided states in the union.

Throw in advances in technology and the transformational effect of hundreds of millions in cash, and there is literally nowhere to hide. John McCain, Barack Obama and their surrogates can’t be ducked or dodged. They’re on television, on the phone, pounding on doors, sending mail. When it’s one-and-one, they call that felony stalking. Writ large, it’s the modern political campaign in a make-or-break state.

There’s no relief. Michelle Obama was here Friday. McCain Sunday. It’s like the old joke about the weather here. Don’t like it? Wait. Continue reading

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