Chicagoans react to primary results

January 9, 2008 4:47:44 PM PST
New Hampshire voters rescued the presidential campaigns of senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain. The people of the Granite State turned out in record numbers for Tuesday's primary that revived the hopes of Clinton and McCain.

So much for the coronation of Barack Obama. Suddenly New Hampshire has given Hillary Clinton hope. Here in Illinois, a lot of voters remain torn between the pride of Hyde Park versus the pride of Park Ridge. Meanwhile, for the GOP, another comeback story for John McCain, who has vaulted back to the top ranks of the Republican field.

Revved up by her upset victory in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton supporters tried to spread their enthusiasm in Chicago Wednesday morning. They gathered at the Ogilvie Transportation Center to cheer on their candidate. They say the win gives her a big boost for upcoming primaries, even Illinois.

"Homeplace of Hillary Clinton, and we're very excited in Illinois about our campaign for February 5," said Betsy Ebeling, friend of Hillary Clinton.

In Park Ridge, where the former first lady grew up, there is great excitement.

"I'm thrilled to death, I'm very happy for her. I knew she could do it. Shee had it rough in Iowa, but she's really remarkable," said Bev Fugiel, Clinton supporter.

But many Chicagoans seem to be echoing what the voters in New Hampshire were saying -- let's keep this contest going a while.

"I like Hillary, I went to school with her, she won't remember me but I was friends with family. I love Barack Obama and would love either of those two candidates," said Luz Bustamante, Park Ridge resident.

The mood at Senator Obama's volunteer headquarters in Chicago Wednesday was one of disappointment.

"Yeah, I was a little surprised actually that, from what I heard, she got more of the female support," said Tracy Moses, Obama volunteer.

Was it the moment when Clinton got emotional and nearly teared up that brought more women to her side? Illinois Senator Dick Durbin thinks it was important.

"There was that moment when she showed some emotion in her voice, broadcast around the United States, and some think it was a turning point," said Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) Illinois.

A turning point which, Durbin says, means the Illinois February 5 primary is now up for grabs. It's wide open for the Republicans as well.

With John McCain bouncing back from a poor showing in Iowa, overcoming rivals Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, McCain's campaign in Illinois is very encouraged.

"He will win next week, and the national momentum is going to get behind him. And it's going to carry him to February 5," said State Rep. Jim Durkin, McCain Illinois campaign chairman.

And on the heels of back-to-back second place finishes, Republican Mitt Romney decided Wednesday to pull all of his advertising from South Carolina and Florida. He's focusing now on Michigan's primary, which is next Tuesday.

Senator Barack Obama also had the quote of the day, telling a reporter he comes from Chicago politics, so "we're accustomed to rough and tumble." He says he is going to take it to the Clintons like they took it to him in New Hampshire.