Obama sets rally for site of Republican nat'l convention in Minnesota

Barack Obama selected St. Paul, Minnesota, where the Republicans will hold their convention, as the site for a rally Tuesday night marking the end of primary season in the drawn-out Democratic presidential contest. The decision to hold the rally on symbolic Republican turf telegraphed his confidence that the Democratic nomination was already his. The decision was announced on Saturday even as Democrats wrangled in Washington DC over rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's quest to have seated disallowed delegates she won in Florida and Michigan. Minnesota was a swing state that eventually went for Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. And while no Republican presidential candidate has carried Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972, Republicans see opportunities this year in Minnesota and other electoral-rich bastions that Democrats won in 2004 including Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They cite Obama's vulnerabilities with key traditionally Democratic demographic groups and McCain's reputation as an independent thinker. Obama is 42 delegates shy of winning the nomination. He is poised to draw even closer by the end of the weekend. A party committee is working Saturday to determine how to allocate delegates from Florida and Michigan. On Sunday, Puerto Rico holds its primary.