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Montana Voters Get Last Word in Primary Campaign

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Montana voters can lay claim to having the last word in the primary campaign. Polls close there at 8 p.m. Mountain Time tonight, one hour after polls close next door in South Dakota. Barbara Theroux runs an independent bookstore called Fact and Fiction in Missoula, Montana, where a lot of the talk these days has been about politics.

BLOCK: There's a level of energy and excitement and involvement. This is the first time in anybody's memory that our primary, which is always last, means something and that the candidates are coming and actively campaigning.

BLOCK: Barbara, has there been one moment - maybe one comment, a joke, an off-hand remark somebody's made at the bookstore or on the street - that sticks with you as you think about this primary campaign season winding down and the end coming tonight?

BLOCK: The big talk over the weekend and still going on today was Bill Clinton was in town on Saturday night and went to the Mo Club, which is a popular bar and has great hamburgers. But all the young people that were in there accidentally when he was there, it was still the buzz of town, it's like, wow, that's kind of neat, he went to the Mo Club, you know...

BLOCK: Is there a bar stool named in his honor now?

BLOCK: Well, you know, there might be. I don't know if they've done that yet. But you know, they have a lot of pictures.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: Did he get a burger?

BLOCK: Yes, he did.

BLOCK: Did he finish it?

BLOCK: I assume so. I haven't, you know, I haven't gone that far in the inquiry stages of things, but you know, it's just that, oh yeah, these people lead some sort of regular life. I mean, I remember when Barack Obama was in town and I had a friend who was at the restaurant, at the hotel where he was staying. And they couldn't understand why all the lights were flashing and things were going on, and they realized that he was arriving at the hotel, and one of them just yelled out, welcome to Montana. He came over and shook hands and said, you live in a beautiful place.

BLOCK: Sounds like people there in Montana are finally getting a taste of what voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are very used to by now.

BLOCK: I know, and somebody did make that comment. We have several people who, you know, obviously are from other parts of the country. And yeah, I think people in Iowa and New Hampshire just feel that what they see and have all the time is just normal, that everybody sees it and hears it and it's like, no way. It just gets tailored down so much by the time the end of a primary season is going on.

BLOCK: And how are you going to keep him down on the farm now that they've seen a real primary?

BLOCK: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: That will be the - you know, maybe we'll have to have some sorts of 12-step programs.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: Well, Barbara Theroux, good to talk to you. Thanks so much.

BLOCK: Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you.

BLOCK: Barbara Theroux runs the Fact and Fiction bookstore in Missoula, Montana. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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