Obama backers join book tour
Barack Obama
Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., makes remarks before the National Education Association convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 5, 2007.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Barack Obama (D) Senator, Illinois
Born: 08/04/1961
Birthplace: Honolulu, HI
Home: Chicago, IL
Religion: United Church of Christ
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Coming Events
"From Doubt to Hope"
When: 11 a.m. today
Where: Second Run Books,
7 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth

For details on candidate financial filings, visit http://www.fec.gov.

PORTSMOUTH — If Oprah can have a book club, why can't Obama?

That's the campaign hope behind the launch of the "From Doubt to Hope" tour for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama. In lieu of the candidate, the summer tour of up to 11 New Hampshire towns and cities will have personal friends and associates of the Illinois senator to talk about Obama, to read from his book, "Dreams From my Father," and to reach out to undecided voters wishing to learn more about the candidate.

The campaign said that Michael Kruglik, who served as a community organizer alongside Obama on Chicago's South Side in the 1980s, will discuss how Obama's early life and young adulthood shaped him — which the campaign said is a key theme of the "From Doubt to Hope" book clubs.

In other primary developments:

Sen. Hillary Clinton landed what is believed to be the first endorsement by a former Democratic presidential candidate that's not her husband.

Former U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, who served 28 years in Congress from Missouri and was twice a presidential candidate, said Thursday he will serve as an economic adviser and co-chairman of the New York senator's campaign. Gephardt campaigned extensively in New Hampshire during his presidential runs on themes of economic concerns of the shrinking middle class, fair trade and Social Security.

The campaign believes Gephardt will be helpful with his long-standing ties to national labor, his advocacy for working families and the network of supporters he developed during his presidential runs.

Who's the top money raiser in the state? According to most recent Federal Election Committee reports (which do not include the most recent reporting period that ended June 30), former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the way among all candidates and far outpaces his Republican rivals with $124,550 raised in 2007 — out of the $196,257 raised by all Republicans.

The second-ranking Republican money raiser so far is Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is barely registering in state and national polls but has raised $16,950, more than much better known rivals Sen. John McCain ($15,232) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ($13,300).

On the Democratic side, Sen. Barack Obama ($49,971) and Sen. Hillary Clinton ($45,475) take out almost two-thirds of the $156,061 raised by Democrats in New Hampshire.

Democratic contender Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware — who raised $7,950 in the state through March 31 — will be in the Seacoast region for two events Friday. After greeting customers at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, Biden will travel to Durham for a 3 p.m. house party in hosted by state Rep. Marjorie Smith, chairwoman of the House Finance Committee. Biden will then attend an event in Jim Webber's home in Kensington. Webber is running in a special election for a house seat in the Kensington district.