Obama cancels visit over Hinckley's funeral
WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama has canceled his visit to Utah in advance of the state's presidential primary on Tuesday out of respect for the funeral services of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.
The Illinois Democrat had been scheduled to visit Saturday, the same day as Hinckley's funeral. Instead, the senator plans to send his wife, Michelle, to stump for him on Monday, the day before Utah's primary. Because of previously scheduled events, Barack Obama won't be able to make the trek to the state at another time.
"Last night I spoke with President Thomas Monson and expressed my deepest sympathies to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley," Sen. Obama said in a statement. Monson is Hinckley's likely successor.
Obama spokesman Andrew Savage said his boss regretted he couldn't make it to the state again.
"Sen. Obama was looking forward to returning to Utah since his August visit and for the opportunity to meet and talk to the people of Utah again," Savage said. Still, the campaign is "taking Utah's primary very seriously and plans to be very competitive on Tuesday."
Utah's primary comes on what is referred to as Tsunami Tuesday, when 22 states hold their presidential contests. The state has 29 Democratic delegates up for grabs.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.Â, sent her spouse to campaign for her last year in Utah and her daughter, Chelsea, was in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.