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Denver: The Hillary Factor

Denver Henry Kelly.JPG

(Denver, Colorado)

It could be the seminal moment of Campaign 2008. Hillary Clinton will endorse Barack Obama (again!), this time before the Democratic National Convention. But how will it translate in the November election?

“This will be the healing week,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Clinton supporter who will fully back Barack Obama. But he concedes the healing will take time. “Let’s not expect miracles,” said Newsom, “This won’t happen overnight. A lot of words were exchanged and it stung.”

Others share that sentiment. Marcia Harvey-Wright, a delegate from Michigan says, “I am a Hillary delegate, but an Obama supporter now.” But how many others are there? A CNN poll out this week says that 27 percent of Clinton supporters plan to vote for John McCain, or just stay home. Even if it turns out to be just 10 percent, that could change the election.

Two friends from Indiana were divided on the issue, but are now joining together. State Sen. Sue Errington of Muncie will cast her convention delegate vote for Clinton, but that is more symbolic. “If she (Hillary) didn't make it, I knew I would be comfortable in supporting Senator Obama,” Errington said.

Her good friend and fellow delegate Bionca Gambill was going the other direction all along. “I’ve had an Obama bumper sticker on my car since July 4, 2007.” Gambill said, inspired by Obama’s stirring speech at the Democratic Convention in 2004. “I think it will work itself out,” Gambill added, “It’s a healing process bringing both sides together.”

All the Indianans I spoke with were comfortable with Sen. Joe Biden being picked as the Vice-presidential running mate, even though their Hoosier state Senator Evan Bayh was passed up. They believe their traditionally Republican state if up for grabs, and could go for Obama this year. “For the first time a (Democratic) Presidential campaign has regional offices all over the state,” said Sen. Errington.

Of course the outcome of this election may hinge on the so-called “swing states” such as Colorado, which is hosting this convention. Henry Kelly, now lives in Denver, but grew up in Chicago. The changing national economy brought him here, like many other Midwesterners.

Kelly was stirred by Michelle Obama’s convention speech. “I think it was very enlightening and inspiring,” Kelly said, “And encouraging and uplifting. I think she’s going to be very supportive for him.” Kelly believes Mrs. Obama addressed the criticism that she took when she said her husband’s campaign was the first time she was “really proud to be American.” Michelle Obama has been widely criticized for saying that. Backers hope the controversy is over. “She addressed it and cleared it up,” said Kelly.

That could be a critical hurdle for the Obama camp to over come, especially with undecided voters.

As I mentioned, Colorado is “in-play” this year, but one African American voter I spoke with is having nothing of it. On the light rail train going home, Calvin Taylor was holding court. He backs McCain, and wants Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, to in his words, “divide the black vote.” Taylor, who is an NRA member and a conservative supporter of the war, believes McCain will win in November. “I love my Democratic friends,” he said, “but I will be calling them on January 20th and say ‘I told you so.’”

Check in often, I will be “live” at 7:45 a.m. on KTVU’s “Mornings on Two” Wednesday morning. Remember, www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Greetings from the Convention Floor in Denver

Monday night was wild on the Convention floor in Denver, with rousing speeches by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama.

I want to thank the hundreds of people who have come to my new web site in the first few days! Keep coming back to www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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