submitted by BitDog
Clintons Tagteam North Carolina Undecideds; Little Sign Of Obama . . .
** ** **
Mayhill Fowler | Posted May 5, 2008
"Our friends in the media like to show all those people telling Hillary Clinton to quit," the field organizer tells Lenoir, North Carolina Sunday afternoon. "But you're going to be the next Rhode Island." The town of Lenoir chuckles at quit and stares blank-faced at Rhode Island, likely thinking, he said he weren't from these parts. I'm thinking whoa! this is ambitious. But then I've known ever since April 18 when Ace Smith, Clinton's North Carolina state director, spun "lowered expectations" in a revealing way that she was going for gold here. Winning North Carolina "would be the biggest upset of the century," Smith told reporters. Smith, who engineered Clinton's wins in California and Texas, clearly had been engaging in some pleasant woolgathering. But now that the race has tightened to under ten points, perhaps three is indeed a lucky number.
When Bill Clinton finally (as usual, hours late) greets Lenoir, he says much the same thing. "Hillary is in this race today with a genuine chance to win because of people like you and places like this. It has been one of the great honors of my life to campaign on her behalf in small-town America from the beginning. It's towns like this that brought her back from thirteen points down in a miracle victory in just two days in New Hampshire. Towns like this."
Towns like this. Here is the Clinton strategy for winning North Carolina. Although Barack Obama had television ads running in NC by the end of March, Hillary Clinton was already campaigning on the ground in the Tar Heel State during the run-up to the Pennsylvania primary. This late in the race, the law of inexorable consequence has set in. The way one primary unfolds determines the parameters of the next. Therefore, because Senator Clinton was always going to win Pennsylvania, she could afford to begin her North Carolina campaign early. By now she has stumped in three to four times more North Carolina cities and towns than Senator Obama. Moreover, Bill Clinton, widely disparaged in the national media and outside states in-play, is Hillary Clinton's stealth weapon in North Carolina. As Bill says to Lenoir, "I went to 47 towns in Pennsylvania, 39 in Indiana, and by the time I've done here, I'm gonna top 50 in North Carolina." That's right, fifty, at the rate of five to seven a day. The day before primary, Bill Clinton will make nine--yes, nine--campaign stops in small towns across northern North Carolina. After the Jefferson-Jackson dinner Sunday night in Indiana, Senator Clinton flew back to the Tar Heel State. The three Clintons (Chelsea has been here, too) are campaigning so fiercely because they think Hillary can win North Carolina--or at least achieve a narrow loss. . .'
The North Carolina polls have the undecided vote for the Tuesday Democratic primary at ten to twelve percent. That has felt about right to me. Over the weekend, just like in Iowa, many of the undecideds decided at the eleventh hour it was about time to make up their minds and headed out to do so. Saturday and Sunday provided opportunities to see a Clinton; Obama, however, was not in the state. At several events, I met undecideds who settled on Clinton once they had seen her, none of whom had yet seen Senator Obama. At the race car rally in Mooresville, for example, a group of school teachers told me that they had wanted to see both candidates in person before deciding. But having just watched Clinton, and with no chance of seeing Obama in the flesh, they were going to vote for Clinton. This is the dynamic in Lenoir, as well. Obama is a rara avis--people just don't know much about him, although one lady says that she knows "one or two people for him." As a consequence of his absence from the state over the weekend, the undecided vote in North Carolina is therefore likely to break for Clinton. . .'
Read more at link ===>