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Obama and WV / Needs more work

Op-Ed Columnist

Raspberry for Barry

Published: May 14, 2008


Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Maureen Dowd

In grim times, a bitter Hillary clings to bitter voters who in grim times supposedly cling to guns, religion and antipathy to people who aren’t like them.

Mining that antipathy, the New York senator has been working hard to get the hard-working white voters of hardscrabble Appalachia so she can show that a black man can’t yet be elected president.

Obama breezed through West Virginia, the state he couldn’t charm even wearing a flag pin and promising to invest in “clean coal.” Fast Barry shot some pool Monday afternoon at Schultzie’s Billiards in South Charleston, including prophetically sinking an eight-ball in the pocket, and then fled from Hillary territory to pursue white, blue-collar workers in battleground states and convince them not to vote for John McBush.

Obama is acting the diffident debutante, pretending not to care that he was given a raspberry by a state he will need in the fall. He was dismissed not only by the voters Hillary usually gets, but was also edged out in blocs that usually prefer him — the under-30 set, college graduates and affluent voters.

Interviews with West Virginians leaving the polls showed some profound weaknesses that could haunt the Illinois senator in the fall. More than half said they would be dissatisfied if Obama was the nominee. Half believe he shares the views of the Rev. Wright, and more than half said he does not share their values. More than half also said that he is not honest and trustworthy. Just under half of the Clinton voters said they would not support Obama in the fall.

Obama may have started the primary season with an inspiring win in 94-percent-white Iowa, but he is winding it up with a resounding loss in 94-percent-white West Virginia.

“As the song says, ‘Almost heaven,’ ” Hillary said at her Charleston victory party, hailing herself as “the strongest candidate,” the one who can win swing states, and urging again that Michigan and Florida votes be counted.

“You know I never give up,” she said, with a W.-strength denial of reality.

Two in 10 white voters said race was important in how they voted, and more than 8 of 10 of these went for Hillary. This echoes an article in The Washington Post on Tuesday that chronicled the racism that some Obama volunteers found in Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Link to complete story New York Post>>


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