The last two weeks have been busy but fun. It's so unusual for Pennsylvanians to be in the thick of a presidential primary race it's exciting. People everywhere are discussing the two candidates and I've heard from them in both camps. I've also heard a good number who remain undecided. I've also seen and heard some interesting things I'll share today as sort of background.
At Tuesday's Hillary event in Millersville I was sitting in the press section preparing for the beginning of the event and some of the final people were entering the gym. A man walked by carrying a Ron Paul sign (why is this man still in the Republican race???) and the gentleman behind him looked overt to me and rolled his eyes, pointed to him and shrugged. He couldn't figure this out either.
At another event I was entering the venue and there was a very heavy security presence. A local cop muttered that it was "all a waste of money." I was shocked by this attitude. Since when is seeing and participating in our democracy a waste of money? More people are involved, active, interested and excited with the races this year than in a very long time. Engaging in democracy is never a waste of money.
I've noticed an interesting difference between the Clinton and Obama campaigns. Hillary's communications staff is professional, knowledegable and incredibly good. Their field operation is in chaos. The opposite seems to be true of the Obama staff.
Quite a few people have expressed a desire to have more advance information about the campaign events and appearances. It's normally just one or two days notice and many people need more time than that to plan and get time off from work. The reason for this short notice is security. Extra time for you also means extra preparation time for anyone wishing to do harm so it's for security concerns that news about these appearances isn't available earlier.
Easter weekend won't see as much activity so I'm going to get some rest this weekend in anticipation of another hectic week. Both campaigns are putting on an effort to complete voter registration around the state. Monday is the deadline if you want to vote April 22nd and are not registered as a Democrat. The number of voters changing their party affiliation for this election is swamping election services offices throughout the Commonwealth.
I think Hillary Clinton's 12 point lead is the result of her campaigning actively and for publicly available events. Senator Obama has primarily done closed events, major speeches designed to swing the momentum back his way. Because people have been unable to see and hear him Senator Clinton has grabbed a distinct advantage. Momentum swings happen constantly during long contests as this and it's often the candidate with the final momentum who wins. Can Obama regain the momentum? We have to watch and wait to see.
The Rev. Wright issue seems to be influencing the debate. Obama has lost a good deal of support and the momentum as he grapples with this issue. Where is the similar outrage over Sen. McCain's endorsement by John Hagee amidst the outrageous comments he has made? Where is the outrage over the worse 9/11 comments made by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson? Oh, yes, they aren't Black.
Why did the AP spend all their time digging through Hillary's First Lady schedules to report where she was during her hubby's trysts with Monica? Does anyone really care about this? What an enormous waste of time. They missed the real stories buried in those documents because they were more concerned with the salacious.
The release of these schedules does reinforce the argument put forth by the Obama campaign managers that the Clinton team is hiding this from the public because releasing these documents could hurt her campaign. These did in regard to NAFTA. Conversely the Clinton campaign has a point about Obama's state senate papers. It's a bit hypocritical of them to call for their release however until they release Hillary's records.