Clintons Tagteam North Carolina Undecideds; Little Sign Of Obama . . .
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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. . .'
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I quote the 4 MAY edition of the OregonStatesman Journal, a newspaper with a readership largely located in the suburbs south of Portland, an area the winner of the Oregon Primary on 20 MAY will have to carry:
"Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? That choice divides friends, families, states — and the Statesman Journal Editorial Board.
"On the Republican side, the endorsement in Oregon's May 20 election was easy. ArizonaSen. John McCain has the national nomination sewn up.
"Although TexasRep. Ron Paul remains on the Oregon ballot, the only question is whom McCain will choose as his vice presidential candidate.
"But the Democrats have made the Oregon presidential primary relevant for the first time in decades.
"Complicating voters' decision is that Sen. Clinton of New York-via-Arkansas-and-the-White-House and Sen. Obama of Illinois have nearly as many liabilities as assets.
"Obama has inspired a sense of hope across this beleaguered nation. He represents a new generation of leaders who can cross racial, social and economic lines.
"He doesn't have much political experience, but neither did a 19th-century candidate named Abraham Lincoln, who ranks as one of America's great presidents.
"But the Editorial Board keeps stumbling on two key questions: What has Obama done, either as an Illinois legislator or a U.S. senator? And will his missteps in speaking lead to destructive missteps in action?
"Clinton seems willing to say anything to get elected. She also has the baggage of husband Bill Clinton, whose weak character dragged down a promising administration and caused this newspaper's Editorial Board to call for his resignation (not that he listened).
"But Hillary Clinton does get things done.
"After leaving the White House, she handily won election in New York, where she proved that she's not simply an urban lawmaker. Rural New Yorkers speak highly of Clinton, praising her for paying attention to their parts of the state.
"In the Senate, she has achieved influence much greater than one would expect for her seven years on Capitol Hill.
"Clinton "gets" the concerns of the middle class that dominates the Mid-Willamette Valley.
"She was the first candidate to offer Oregon a "compact" of campaign promises on state-specific issues such as restoring county timber payments and giving the state say about siting of liquefied-natural-gas terminals.
"As for McCain, his chief liabilities are his age and his temperament, but he has distinguished himself in a lifetime's service to the country.
"Through four years in the U.S. House and 22 in the Senate, he has built a reputation for driving good ideas into law.
"Not all Republicans will agree with McCain's support for the Iraq war. But they can appreciate that as a former Navy pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war, he has an informed opinion — and has stuck to his convictions.
"McCain will be on the ballot in November, and a divided Editorial Board thinks that Clinton would be his strongest opponent.
"In the end, Clinton and McCain are the best choices for Oregonians in the May 20 primary election."
I hope everyone is doing well. And please remind your friends and relatives to vote for Hillary Clinton, for there is so much to accomplish both in our country and in the Democratic Party. Indeed, this article on the antics of Obama supporters at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Indiana illustrates why we must elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States:
The Observer's endorsement of Obama does not surprise me: their
reporters were belligerent during the Clinton campaign's conference calls; and
they have consistently provided negative coverage of Hillary.
But I do find their repetition of falsehoods propagated by the Obama
campaign somewhat vexing. Read their endorsement, and be prepared to
refute it when you speak with friends, family and colleagues before the
primary. Also view it as motivation to work twice as hard for Senator
"But in the campaign, as in the Senate, he has shown the ability to
How does one respond to this statement? Should one respond to this
statement? Is this a newspaper or a comedy club?
The deck has been stacked, and the cards have been dealt. And yet, she
still manages to win the game. Now let us prove the Charlotte
Observer wrong by delivering this county to Hillary.
Nancy, who is also a member of Amigos de Hillary, asked me to forward
the following to Hillary supporters in Charlotte. I quote:
"Please join us at the luncheon tomorrow at the Marriott Hotel (Tyvola
Rd. and I77) at 11:30 am.
I encourage all our friends to come and share with our amigas Maria
Echeveste and Andrea Bazan. The more visible support, the more energy we
continue to create, so Amigos de Hillary, please join us tomorrow. And
friends who are still undecided, we also want you there to learn more
about why we support Hillary. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to have a count.
See you all tomorrow.
"About our special guests and Hillary supporters:
Maria Echeveste is an attorney. Her firm Nueva Vista advises
corporations and non-profits on public policy, advocacy, and strategy. Maria
appears regularly on such TV shows as "To the Contrary" and "Inside
Politics." Also, for almost three years she served as President Clinton's
deputy chief of staff.
"Andrea Bazan is President of the Triangle Community Foundation in
Durham, NC, a philanthropic organization. Andrea is former Executive
Director of El Pueblo, the largest Hispanic organization in NC, and Vice
Chair of The National Council of La Raza. She is an accomplished Latina
dedicated to the community."
Today I placed telephone calls from the office from 11am-8pm. I cannot
emphasize enough the importance of our full participation in the
activities of the office during the final 72 hours of the campaign: voters
must be contacted either by telephone or at their front doors; voters
must be provided with all the information required for them to cast
informed votes on Tuesday; and voters must be reminded of Tuesday's election.
There is plenty of space in the office, and there are plenty of tasks
for everyone to complete. Working in the office also affords one the
opportunity to meet supporters who hail from other areas of the country.
Jyoti, Grace and Deborah asked me to schedule a Honk4Hillary event
tomorrow at the intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Rea Road at
1pm. Please consider attending this event, as this is a busy
intersection frequented by undeclared voters of south Charlotte. I plan to attend
this event, and at least one other member of our group intends to