OBAMA AND CLINTON OPEN TEXAS OFFICES TO GET OUT THE VOTE,FROM STATESMAN NEWSPAPER,AUSTIN,TEXAS

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from statesman.com(austin,texasJ)

(enlarge photo)
Before they began canvassing for Barack Obama, volunteers at the presidential candidate’s campaign office in downtown Austin heard from state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

Jay Janner
AMERICAN-STATESMAN

President Clinton makes campaign stop in Austin; Obama, Clinton open Texas offices
Hundreds of staffers and volunteers begin fighting for their candidates as the Texas primary nears.
By Patrick George, Melissa Mixon

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Democratic fight for president was in full swing in Austin on Saturday, with an appearance by former President Bill Clinton and the opening of the state headquarters for both candidates ahead of the March 4 Texas primary.

Fresh from Lubbock and Amarillo, Clinton appeared late Saturday night before supporters for his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The campaign estimated that 4,700 people turned out. The former president was wrapping up a whirlwind swing through what has become a crucial state in the battle between U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois.

Supporters packed Hillary Clinton’s brand-new headquarters on Ben White Boulevard in anticipation of her husband’s arrival. An overflow crowd waited outside, at the request of the fire marshal, and organizers promised that the former president would speak to those waiting outside from atop a truck.

Bill Clinton reminded the crowd of Hillary Clinton’s work in registering Mexican American voters along the border, and he expressed optimism that she would win the next slate of primaries, including Texas’.

“We owe you a lot,” he said.

He noted that Hillary Clinton particularly admired two famous Texas women — the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan and former Gov. Ann Richards, whose memorial service she spoke at last year.

“She thought of Ann Richards as a role model and only wished she could tell jokes as well,” he said.

Although Bill Clinton would soon be off to his next campaign stop, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in Austin to stay — at least until after the primary. Earlier in the day, her Texas headquarters opened on Ben White Boulevard just west of Interstate 35. The bare-bones office was sparsely decorated with hand-drawn red, white and blue posters with messages like “78704 for Hillary.”

“Folks are figuring out how best to help Hillary over the next 18 days,” said Adrienne Elrod, Clinton’s Texas spokeswoman. The office will close after the Texas primary.

Clinton volunteer Kendrick Hackett of Austin spent his Saturday entering volunteers’ contact information into a spreadsheet on a laptop.

“Typically, the primary is decided before it gets to Texas,” Hackett said. Because Obama and Clinton remain so close in the race for delegates, “this year we have a chance to make a difference,” he said.

Obama’s campaign opened its state headquarters Saturday, with hundreds of supporters and volunteers flooding the second floor of a downtown office space at 816 Congress Ave. The opening came as Obama was endorsed by the Houston Chronicle.

The offices were still cluttered with computers and legal pads that had not been unpacked. But supporters said the grass-roots atmosphere represents part of what has attracted them to Obama in the first place.

“It’s just not so polished. You can see all of the little kids making signs and hanging them up,” said Melissa Miller, 46.

Saturday was Miller’s first time volunteering for a political campaign. She said she was moved to do so after reading Obama’s second book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Volunteers made posters, many displaying one of Obama’s signature campaign themes: “Hope.” That message, along with one of change, is partly what attracted Kelly McKee-Brednich and her family.

“I’ve never been so disappointed with things before,” McKee-Brednich said. “But, every time I hear him speak, I get the goose bumps.”

Obama’s campaign opened offices in San Antonio and Brownsville on Saturday, which are expected to remain open until the primary.

Both candidates are traveling across the state in the coming week, running up to a debate in Austin on Thursday.

Both camps have plans in Austin today: “Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera will speak to young voters for Clinton at 1 p.m. at Joe’s Bar and Grill, 506 West Ave.; Obama organizers will offer training for precinct captains at 5 p.m. at the downtown headquarters.

pgeorge@statesman.com; 445-3851

One Response to “OBAMA AND CLINTON OPEN TEXAS OFFICES TO GET OUT THE VOTE,FROM STATESMAN NEWSPAPER,AUSTIN,TEXAS”

  1. Barack Obama » OBAMA AND CLINTON OPEN TEXAS OFFICES TO GET OUT THE VOTE,FROM STATESMAN NEWSPAPER,AUSTIN,TEXAS Says:

    […] BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL! wrote an interesting post today on OBAMA AND CLINTON OPEN TEXAS OFFICES TO GET OUT THE VOTE,FROM STATESMAN NEWSPAPER,AUSTIN,TEXASHere’s a quick excerpt(enlarge photo) Before they began canvassing for Barack Obama, volunteers at the presidential candidate’s…Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois…. […]

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