April 1, 2008

News Xtra: HILLARY HITS THE METRO/ OBAMA KENTUCKY OFFICE UNVEILED

Hillary Clinton took the stageHillary Clinton took the stage at duPont Manual High School Saturday afternoon and, instead of hitting on the same old same old, proceeded to offer a detailed and informed preview of the night’s U of L-UNC match-up in the East Regional final. “Obviously, the Cards have to keep the Heels from running up and down the court. They’ll have to try to control the pace while keeping things up-tempo.”Then I woke up. Not that it was boring. Actually, it was. Clinton touched on a number of major themes: healthcare (she helped make it better back in the day, but it still lacks); energy (end subsidies for oil companies, invest in green initiatives as a job generator); education (end the unfunded mandate of No Child Left Behind); science (fund stem cell research); the war (time to get out of Iraq — and pass a GI Bill to take care of our returning veterans) and so on.The audience — I’d say 1,500-1,800 people, including lots of young folks, a seemingly equal number of men and women, and a fairly small number of non-white faces — was into it, in spite of cooling their heels for more than two hours before the guest of honor took the stage.Tina Ward-Pugh and Judy Green of the Metro Council were there and made opening remarks. Former KDP chair Jerry Lundergan made opening remarks. A handful of female state legislators accompanied Hillary when she took the stage.There weren’t any surprises. Expecting something beyond the same old talking points would be like going to McDonald’s and getting upset when they wouldn’t sell you a filet mignon. —Cary StemleObamaSaturday morning was a mob scene on East Market in front of the old Hausman Jeep building, which was unveiled as the headquarters of Barack Obama’s Kentucky campaign. I’d say the crowd was around 300 — and kept growing — on a chilly but sunny Saturday morning. People were chanting, waving signs and generally hollering praises of the leading Democratic presidential candidate. You know, it was a political rally. As usual, a string of Democratic leaders was also on hand. Metro Councilman David Tandy, D-4, served as MC, kicking things off with what has become Obama’s rallying cry at such events: “Fired Up! Ready to Go!” U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth spoke, as did his predecessor, Ron Mazzoli.Tandy drew a comparison between Obama and the city’s favorite son, Muhammad Ali. “We’re gonna float like a butterfly,” he said. “We’re gonna sting like a bee.” His wife, Carolyn Tandy, is chairwoman of Obama’s Kentucky campaign. Yarmuth said Obama “is going to unify this entire country.” The first-term congressman, one of Kentucky’s superdelegates, endorsed the Illinois senator weeks ago. Other prominent Democrats on hand included state Sen. Gerald Neal and state Rep. Reginald Meeks, Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton, state Party chair Jennifer Moore and activist Judy Munro-Leighton. —Stephen George