Barack Obama in Tama

Barack Obama held a rural summit in Tama, Iowa on Friday. Photo: Obama Campaign

Okay, before we get to the news, the Yonder gives you the wild rumor. It’s this: Al Gore will announce his candidacy sometime in the next week.

One of our faithful blogs, Green Mountain Daily, has the scoop. It turns out the sources for the report that the former vice president will announce between August 18th and the 21st are something called Lost TV and the always-reliable Taipei Times (from June, no less). Will Gore run? The Yonder finds no evidence he will. At the same time, he’s leading one poll in Michigan (with Fred Thompson leading the Rs).

Meanwhile, however, real candidates are talking rural, at least among the Democrats. Sen. Barack Obama has stopped listening and has started talking about what he thinks of rural America’s future. At a high school in Tama Friday, the Illinois senator ran through his rural program. It goes like this:

“¢ “I believe it’s time to turn the page on a politics that has turned its back on rural America,” Obama said. “While you’re working hard to strengthen your farms, your families, and your communities, small businesses or main streets, our government has been working for big agribusiness.”

“¢ Obama would limit subsidy payments under the farm bill to $250,000 per farmer. Under the House version of the new farm bill, it’s just under a million bucks. (Some at the event thought Obama’s limits didn’t acknowledge how modern farms were organized.)

“¢ “I’ve seen the challenges in downstate Illinois,” Obama said. “I’ve fought these battles for rural Americans and for ethics reform in our government in Springfield and in Washington. And I know that what we’re talking about here is not just one policy it’s about the future for these kids who are going to graduate from Tama High. It’s about whether they can find opportunity here at home. It’s about whether they’ll have a government that fights for them, so they can dream without limit.”

Meanwhile, former North Carolina senator John Edwards announced a list of 1,000 supporters in rural Iowa. Edwards continues to have the most detailed agenda for rural America. (Whether you agree with what he has to say, of course, is a different matter.)

Edwards opposes anti-competitive mergers in the agriculture industry (saying he would be the nation’s biggest trust-buster since Teddy Roosevelt); he would impose a ban on packer ownership of livestock operations; and he would seek a national moratorium on large hog farm lagoons. Edwards talked last week about his plans to increase funding for rural broadband and for extending loans to young, rural entrepreneurs.

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