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THE NATION | On the Trail | LAS VEGAS LUCK

Lessons at the kitchen table

May 31, 2008|Don Frederick

Barack Obama visited a Las Vegas-area couple this week with two big apparent objectives: to spotlight the strain they're experiencing making mortgage payments as part of a national problem that he would aggressively confront, and to win some positive coverage in a key Western battleground state.

Also, the fact that the couple, Felicitas Rosel and Francisco Cano, are Latino might help the candidate reach a constituency he's had a tough time attracting.

Still, for all the political calculation surrounding Obama's kitchen-table chat with the two, the presidential candidate may have gotten a life lesson from the encounter.

As the session was coming to a close, Obama praised the Bellagio hotel and casino, where Rosel works as a maid and Cano as a porter (and where Obama campaigned back in the winter, trolling for votes in the Nevada caucuses). Then he added, "The only problem with me is when I come to Las Vegas, I'm not allowed to have fun. Everybody knows me. If I start playing blackjack, I'll get in trouble."

Pointing to a nearby television crew, he continued, "All these cameras will follow me."

To which Rosel, who no doubt has heard her share of woe after bad nights at the tables, replied, "You're lucky."

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-- Don Frederick

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