[Hillary Clinton will be interviewed on CBS’ Face The Nation this morning. We expect the economy and seating Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention to be topics of interest along with the South Carolina results and the role of race in the campaign. We do not expect a discussion of the role of women in the campaign.]
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After last night’s shameless Big Media cable hatefest (exceptions granted to Pat Buchanan and the mild peeps from Jeffrey Toobin) we get back to the issues which will determine the outcome of the Democratic Party nomination race.
Here is Hillary discussing the economy:
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As we discussed yesterday, Hillary is fighting for the rights of Florida voters. The results, or rather the lack of recognizing the results, in Florida determined the 2000 election. The New York Times is tiptoeing its way into recognizing the importance of Florida in 2008:
By Friday night, nearly 350,000 Democrats had cast early votes, either in person or by mail, and party officials predicted that about 400,000 will have voted by Election Day. By contrast, just 97,000 Democrats voted early in the 2004 presidential primary, which was not as intensely contested. There are 4.14 million Democrats registered to vote in Florida.
The level of interest, if it is matched by turnout at the polls on Tuesday, could make the results in Florida more important for Democrats than they had assumed, given both the absence of candidates here and the fact that no delegates are at stake. The Democratic National Committee penalized Florida for holding its primary too early, saying it would not seat its delegates.
Along with the Democratic contest in South Carolina on Saturday, the Florida results could help set the stage for the almost nationwide primary battle on Feb. 5. Three days before Floridians line up at the polls here, the number of Democrats who have voted here has already exceeded the turnout in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
“There is a race going on,” said Karen Thurman, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, who has been urging Floridians to defy the national party and vote. “And there will still be a headline: ‘So-and-so has won Florida.’ ”
Florida voters want to be heard. Florida voters are showing the determination to be heard by voting in huge numbers – a phenomenon usually seen in foreign lands after the collapse of a dictatorship and the birth of a democracy. Despite an embargo on discussion of issues and candidate visits, Florida demands to be heard.
The rush of Democrats to vote before Tuesday’s primary has come despite Democratic candidates having stayed out of the state in deference to the Democratic National Committee and a pledge they signed to the four states with authorized early contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
Still, unlike in Michigan, the other state that defied the Democratic National Committee and went ahead with an early primary, the names of Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and a third candidate, John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, are on the ballots that Floridians saw when early voting started 15 days before the primary and on absentee ballots that were distributed as early as Dec. 15.
The United States is not a dictatorship – the people rule here. Freedom and discussion of issues and democratic competition cannot be embargoed by decree. Barack Obama is conducting a subterranean campaign in Florida while opposing the seating of Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton has many friends in Florida and supports Florida representation at the Democratic National Convention.
The Democratic surge here is hardly taking place in a vacuum. Mrs. Clinton has a network of supporters, including elected officials, who have organized get-out-the-vote efforts and are planning statewide victory parties. One prominent Clinton supporter, Gerald W. McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was headed here this weekend to urge union members to turn out for Mrs. Clinton.
“We have 26,000 members and we probably have a like amount of retirees there,” Mr. McEntee said by telephone. “We are going to have three or four meetings and give our pitch in terms of Hillary Clinton and ask them to be active in the remaining days of the campaign with the specific focus of trying to bring out three our four neighbors next Tuesday.”
Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to fly here on Sunday for two fund-raisers. Although the events are not open to the press or public — her aides said she would attend no public event that would result in her breaking her word — her arrival here the day after the South Carolina vote seems likely to produce coverage on Florida television stations and newspapers on the day before the vote. On Friday, her campaign issued a statement saying that she would urge her delegates at the Democratic convention this summer to seat the Florida delegation.
Even as Mr. Obama’s advisers have sought to play down the results, his campaign has bought television time on national networks that has been hard to miss on Florida television stations. Grass-roots groups who say they are operating independently of Mr. Obama’s headquarters in Chicago have also been organizing across the state, trying to encourage support for him.
Terry Watson, who heads one of the grass-roots groups, said his organization handed out thousands of leaflets promoting Mr. Obama and asked Floridians to vote for him at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in St. Petersburg last Monday. Mr. Watson said his group was “the largest grass-roots organization” in the state and was preparing to help Mr. Obama should he win the presidential nomination.
Big Media will choose again to ignore reality, but the Hillary campaign is providing a reality break. The Obama campaign continues to dismiss and denigrate the importance of Florida voters:
“Here’s the bottom line: Hundreds of thousands of Floridians are going to vote,” said Howard Wolfson, the communications director for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. “They have been watching this campaign, and their votes and their preferences matter.”
That has stirred concern in Mr. Obama’s campaign; a front-page poll in The Miami Herald on Thursday showed Mrs. Clinton with a sizable lead.
Mr. Obama’s campaign argued that the Florida vote is a meaningless beauty contest, given the absence of candidates in the state and the fact that no candidate will win delegates in a contest that both sides have increasingly viewed as a race for delegates, rather than states.
“Although Senator Obama did not remove his name from the Florida primary ballot because Florida law did not allow him to do so, Senator Obama is firm in his commitment to neither participate nor campaign in the Florida primary and its outcome has no bearing on the nomination contest,” Mr. Obama’s campaign said in a memorandum sent to “interested parties.”
Hillary Clinton has not been afraid to contest every election in every state no matter how difficult the odds. Florida voters are fully informed and will vote. Obama can run, but he can’t hide from Florida voters.
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Hillary discusses the economy in the video posted above. Don’t miss the below video in the “Ask Hillary” series. In this video Hillary discusses, among other issues, the high incidence of suicide among gay teens. For those wondering why Hillary has such high levels of support in the gay community, this video provides and answer.