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Election 2008

Anticipation in Philadelphia

Joel Rose

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Senators at Center Stage
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New York Sen. Hillary Clinton heads into the weekend on a high after primary victories in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. Next stop:
Pennsylvania, the last big prize on the primary calendar. The election isn't until April, but already, voters are basking in this unexpected chance to shape the outcome of the race.

The last time Pennsylvania's presidential primary really mattered was in 1984, when Walter Mondale beat Gary Hart on his way to the Democratic nomination. In downtown Philadelphia's Love Park, voters are excited to have a real choice this year.

Lisa Hanson was encouraged by Hillary Clinton's wins this week in Ohio and Texas. "I'm really hoping Hillary pulls it off," she said.
"For the first time in my life, I got up and checked the results first thing in the morning. It's pretty exciting this year."

It wasn't supposed to be. When other states rushed to move their primaries to February and March, Pennsylvania did not. Many observers expected the race to be over a long time ago.

Hillary Clinton is leading Barack Obama in the polls here, but the gap has been shrinking. And the Obama campaign still has nearly two months to win over undecided voters like Linda Hubbell, who said she 'loves' Obama, but she's not sure she'll vote for him. "If Obama is able to appoint people with reasonable experience to his cabinet, I'd feel better about voting for him," Hubbell said. "It's gonna come down to that April 22nd day."

A few people in Love Park do remember Pennsylvania's last competitive primary election.

Ernesto Barrett says he didn't vote in 1984, but he will this time. "We're looking at making history, and I think everybody wants to be a part of that history. As an African American I'm extremely proud of Obama. And I want to be there and say I contributed to that portion of history. I love Hillary, but I've gotta go with my boy."

Some of the voters who will decide this election weren't even born yet in 1984.

Eighteen-year-old Mecca Mohammed is voting in her first presidential election. "Even though I'm a woman, and the cliche thing is vote for a woman, I still say Obama. It's just like a fresh start. We really could use some change. Seriously. Some change, some peace."

Peace is one thing Pennsylvania voters may not see very much in the next seven weeks, as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama settle in for a primary fight that one party official is calling "Iowa on steroids."

Hillary Clinton has scheduled a rally on Mpnday in Scranton, Pa., while supporters of Barack Obama will be trying to register new Democratic voters across the commonwealth.

More stories from our Election 2008 series


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By Young Atheart

    From San Jose, CA, 03/10/2008

    The main difference between Clinton and Obama is one of character. Anyone paying attention can see that Senator Clinton is diverting attention from her own shortcomings by projecting them on to Senator Obama

    On NAFTA
    While blaming Obama, her own campaign asked asked Canada to take her anti-NAFTA crticism with "a grain of salt" http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g9rwO9WjyXz5a-SfrETivAeTEnnw
    Meanwhile, Obama's only fault on NAFTA has been to hire smart economists like Goulsbee who speak their own mind

    On Corruption,
    While digging up a fifteen year old, vetted relationship with Tony Rezko, both Clintons are concealing their own indictment in the largest election law fraud is US history
    The trial begins this summer

    On Experience
    While comparing her 35 years to one Obama speech, Hillary is concealing the lack of ANY substantive accomplishments
    - Legislative
    - Foreign experience
    Meanwhile, Obama passed healthcare reform and hundreds of other bills in Illinois

    Whatever experience the Clinton's bring can best be used under the transparent leadership of an Obama presidency, not as a family dynasty.

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