Washington Post Jonathan Weisman \ Monday, June 30, 2008 2:35 PM
Subject: Obama's Independence Day pool report
Norton Canfield, a gray-haired, bearded park ranger with a braided pony tail, took Sen. Obama on the tour of Harry Truman’s stately, turn-of-the-century white Victorian home, first telling him that Bess Truman had died there at the age of 97. Obama inquired what Bess’s family had done to acquire such a house, which though no McMansion, must have been impressive for the time. Canfield answered that her father had been a wheat miller. Who knew?
Obama looked closely at the portrait of Truman above the mantle piece. When shown a living room portrait of Margaret, he asked whether she was the daughter whose singing had been given a bad review, prompting a threatened presidential punch in the nose. “I would have done the same thing if someone had something mean about my daughter,” Obama said.
When Canfield showed Obama Truman’s hat and coat hanging just beyond the foyer, he said, “The thing that I envy most about Truman was that when he was in the White House, he could go out and take a walk. He could put on that fedora and take a stroll, without someone following him.”
Your pooler than felt plenty bad ruining the candidate’s day, although I must note that was some pretty confident talk regarding November.
The house’s interior was classic, Victorian bricabrac, dimly lit and loaded with furniture, decorations, photos and paintings. As Obama perused the photos on the Truman piano, he noted, “this is a very cozy house.” His attention was drawn to a large, wooden radio cabinet that brought up memories of his grandparents’ model.
“This brings back a lot of memories,” Obama said.
But what really got the candidate and his body man jazzed up was the 1972 Chrysler Newport Canfield showed him in the detached garage around back.
“I wonder what kind of mileage this gets,” Obama ruminated, as he marveled over the sprawling car Truman bought just six months before his death.
“I don’t know if it fits the new fuel efficiency plan,” his sidekick, Reggie, replied.
On the short stroll from the speech sight to the house, Obama first shook hands with about 100 well-wishers outside the auditorium, then walked down Truman Road, greeting knots of fans and walking up to houses to talk to bystanders.
Lynn Newell did not leap up to greet him.
“I think he has some great ideas. I think he’s young. I think he’s a change, but I’m not sure what we need right now,” the undecided independent said.
From Obama’s perspective, the more inviting tableau came from Tootsie Williams, a middle-aged African American sporting an Obama t-shirt of her design, and Debbie Twyman, her white counterpart in a Hillary Clinton t-shirt.
“You’ve got the face of the Democratic Party right here,” Twyman shouted as she gave Williams a hug.
“I always liked Obama,” Twyman later said. “I just wanted to vote for a woman this time.”