HARRISBURG, Pa. — Like a pre-game pep rally, Hillary Clinton’s Election Eve event in Pennsylvania’s capital city featured cheers and chants and predictions of victory.
The former first lady was late arriving yesterday afternoon after beginning the day with a morning event in Scranton, but a young Clinton aide warmed up the waiting audience, leading an exuberant chant in which she hollered, “Madame!” and the crowd yelled back, “President!”
Exclamation points continued to proliferate after Hillary showed up to deliver a 30-minute speech full of promises and applause lines that ended with the candidate shouting, “Now, let’s go out and win an election!”
Indeed, the New York senator is expected to score a solid win in today’s primary — an internal poll of likely Democratic voters leaked by Clinton aides to the Drudge Report yesterday showed her with an 11-point edge over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Still, it remains a question mark whether even a double-digit victory can rescue a cash-strapped candidate who will continue to trail Obama in the all-important delegate count no matter the outcome in Pennsylvania.
NONE OF HER difficulties appeared to trouble Hillary yesterday when she took the stage at the Zembo Masonic Temple here, wearing a red jacket and sounding slightly hoarse as she neared the end of the grueling six-week Pennsylvania campaign.
“I know that I’m running for the toughest job in the world,” she told the crowd, making the case that she’s ready for the task, and insinuating that Obama is not quite up to the challenge. “We need to think carefully about this decision….Who do we want to be there on Day One?”
To this, the crowd responded with chants of “Hillary! Hillary!” but not everyone at the rally was a true-blue Clintonite. Sixteen years of national media exposure lend Hillary a celebrity aura. Her fame may not be enough to win her the Democratic nomination, but it attracts many people who mainly seem eager to see the famous lady in person.
Among those was 21-year-old Laura Antonuk, who accompanied her mother to the Harrisburg rally because “she was very excited about it and I thought I’d come along.”
Her mother, Ginger Lowe, is enthusiastically pro-Clinton. “As a woman who grew up in the '60s and '70s, to me it’s very exciting to have the opportunity to vote for a woman for president,” Lowe said while awaiting Hillary’s arrival.
Her daughter, however, was uncommitted. “I haven’t really decided who I’m going to vote for yet, so it’s good to see her speak and hear her views,” Antonuk said. “We’ll see.”
Clinton directly addressed the undecided Democrats in the audience yesterday. “Some people are still probably trying to decide….There are still some of you here who are still shopping, and you know, you can shop all the way until the polls close tomorrow.”
It may seem strange that Pennsylvania voters would still be undecided after such an extended campaign here. However, the Clinton camp suggests that last week’s debate — in which ABC News moderators George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson hammered Obama with tough questions — sowed doubts about Obama’s electability and gave Hillary a chance to change the minds of Democrats who had previously been leaning the other way.
“I think what we saw at the debate…was that people have a lot of questions about Senator Obama, questions that he has failed to answer leading up to that debate or even since that debate,” Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said in a brief interview after yesterday’s rally. “And I think you’re seeing that in the way that people are reacting and responding to him since.”
The obvious strategy for Team Clinton is to continue stressing Hillary’s White House experience — a theme she emphasizes in every speech — while raising more questions about Obama.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?