Wednesday, January 30, 2008

...and Kansas and California

Well, Blogger destroyed the rest of my previous post, so I'm going to try to reconstruct some of the news I'd gathered.

The first post-South Carolina state poll is in from Rasmussen, and it shows a dead heat between Clinton and Obama in Connecticut. This is in Hillary's Northeastern sphere of influence, and the poll was taken before the Kennedys endorsements.

In the Florida primary, Hillary won mostly on the strength of early voters and early deciders--59% of those who voted. But Obama won "more support than Clinton from voters who made up their minds in the last three days (46 percent to 38 percent), in the last week (39-31) and in the last month (47-40). "

And now that McCain really does seem the likely GOPer nominee, attention should be paid to analyzes of Obama's electability vs. Clinton's like this one. This pundit's basic point applies to the primaries as well: Clinton's vote has peaked. She might get some of former supporters back, but she's unlikely to get new support. Whereas Obama's support is clearly growing, perhaps by leaps and bounds.

In Kansas, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius endorsed Obama as expected, and he also picked up an interesting endorsement from more than 80 volunteer lawyers for Guantanamo prisoners. But Hillary got an important endorsement from Maxine Waters, the iconic California Rep. and mainstay of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Speaking of California, Obama got some endorsements, too: Suddenly, California Latinos are coming out of the woodwork. Just before the South Carolina primary, state senate majority leader Gloria Romero was made a national co-chair of the campaign. By Monday noon, Joe Coto (chair of the CA Latino Caucus), Nicole Parra, Gilbert Cedillo and Dean Florez--all state legislators--were standing with Romero on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento to speak out, in both English and Spanish (Univision was rolling the camera), in a press conference for Obama.

This article--and one at the Washington Post--praise the Obama ground game in California and other states, saying his grassroots campaigners are an advantage over the lesser efforts of Clinton's. Obama campaign raised $5 million online in just the past few days.

Finally, back to Kansas. Before the big rally of some 4700 people in Kansas City, Obama visited the town with family connections:

It was his first visit ever to El Dorado, where his maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham, grew up. Obama was raised by his mother and his grandparents in Hawaii; his father left the family when Obama was just 2 years old and then returned to his native Kenya.Obama told the audience that his story "spans miles and generations, races and realities."

Obama told reporters his grandfather was raised by grandparents and was a "wild child" who married his high school sweetheart from nearby Augusta, Kan., over objections from her more traditional family. He said his grandfather served in World War II and was educated on the GI Bill, while his grandmother stayed in Wichita with their baby — Obama's mother, Ann Dunham — and worked on a bomber assembly line. The family eventually moved to Hawaii, where Obama was born and raised.

Stanley Dunham died in 1992, Obama's mother in 1995. But Obama said his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, is "glued to CNN" and follows the campaign closely, even though severe osteoporosis keeps her from traveling from Hawaii.
Obama said he still has extended family in the area who have gotten involved in the campaign.

"It's been fun actually meeting them," Obama said of the distant white relatives. Then he added with a laugh, "You wouldn't spot them out in a crowd as my cousins."

Among Obama's more distant cousins is Dick Cheney, according to genealogy research done by the vice president's wife. Obama said, "It's not a close relationship."

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