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Will black voters stay home if Obama loses nomination?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

By David Lightman and William Douglas | McClatchy Newspapers

INDIANAPOLIS — Many black voters are making it very clear: They're concerned that Barack Obama is going to be denied the Democratic presidential nomination that they see as rightfully his, and if that happens, a lot of them may stay home in November.

"It would hurt me not to vote," said Charles Clark, an Indianapolis retiree. He's thinking about leaving the presidential box on his ballot blank this fall if Hillary Clinton is the Democrats' nominee.

"There was a heck of a push made so blacks could vote. I know that," he said. "But it would also be very unfair if they pushed Barack Obama to the side."

Michelle Moore, an Indianapolis housewife, is less gentle: "Hillary Clinton would not even still be in the race if Obama was a white man," she said.

Her tough tone was common this week in this city's black community. Why, people asked, is the Illinois senator's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright being judged so harshly? Why won't Democratic Party officials acknowledge that Obama's in the lead and unite around him?

African-Americans have been the Democratic Party's most reliable bloc, giving about 90 percent of their votes to former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the last two presidential elections.

In a close election this year, an African-American exodus from the voting booth could be costly to Democrats, particularly in the South, where blacks are a large proportion of the electorate.

If Obama isn't the nominee, "there would be a significant number of African-Americans who would stay home. They're not voting for (presumptive Republican nominee) John McCain," predicted David Bositis, a senior analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which researches black voting trends...(Click here for remainder of article).

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As Obama looks victorious, a desperate Clinton argues on

By William Douglas | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Clinton will campaign beyond Tuesday's West Virginia primary and take her fight for the Democratic presidential nomination all the way to the party's convention this summer if she or Sen. Barack Obama hasn't won enough delegates to clinch the party's nomination, her campaign advisers said Friday.

Clinton campaign strategist Geoff Garin and communications director Howard Wolfson, speaking to a breakfast meeting with reporters, repeated recent Clinton campaign assertions that the delegate majority is 2,209 to shoot down speculation that Clinton would drop out of the race after her expected defeat of Obama in West Virginia on Tuesday. Previously, Democrats had said 2,025 delegates would be needed to win, a number Obama is likely to reach on May 20, after the Oregon and Kentucky primaries.

The higher number would include the Michigan and Florida delegations, which have been barred from the Denver convention. Whether any portion of those delegations will be allowed will be discussed at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee rules committee scheduled for May 31.

The campaign's position comes as Obama's support among superdelegates — party officials and insiders who can vote however they choose — rises. Obama's aides said Friday that he'd picked up the support of eight new superdelegates, including one who'd supported Clinton....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Where did the Web rumors about Obama come from?

By Matt Stearns | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Some things about Barack Obama rub some voters the wrong way.

"We don't need a Muslim," said Jannay Smith, a retiree from Kokomo, Ind. "Who's to say if he gets in there what he'll do?"

Added Steve Shallenberger, a Kokomo electrician: "He's just calling himself a Christian because he knows that's what we in Indiana want to hear."

Then there's Sherry Richey, also from Kokomo: "He wouldn't put his hand on the Bible; he wanted the Quran. He won't put his hand over his heart during the anthem or say the Pledge of Allegiance. He's too un-American."

All of these slurs on Obama are categorically untrue.

Obama, the front-running Democratic presidential candidate, is a Christian, has never been a Muslim, swore his Senate oath on the Bible, says the pledge and generally puts his hand over his heart when he sings the national anthem.

So why were people aware enough of current events to attend political rallies in the days leading up to the Indiana primary saying such things?

They'd been misled by the Internet.

In the ugly new world of online political rumor-mongering, aggressive Googling and e-mailing allow anyone to join the cacophonous misinformation campaign against a politician — in this case, Obama....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Daily Cartoon (by Lee Judge / The Kansas City Star (May 9, 2008))

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