Candidates crisscross the country

January 11, 2008 3:18:47 PM PST
"It's the economy, stupid." Those were the words used by Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. Friday, his wife, presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton, stressed it's still the economy as she unveiled her economic plan in Southern California. And with primaries up for grabs, presidential candidates crisscrossed the country Friday.

Republicans are concentrating on the upcoming GOP contests in Michigan, South Carolina and Florida; Democrats, Nevada and South Carolina, and they're all thinking at the same time about primaries and caucuses in 22 states on February 5. Barack Obama's attended an event in Nevada Friday with the big unions that have given him an endorsement and perhaps an edge. And Hillary Clinton is talking economic issues in the biggest state of all, California.

The biggest delegate prize on super-duper Tuesday, February 5, is California, where a quarter of the Democratic voters are Latino. So it's no surprise that Hillary Clinton was joined Friday by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as she unveiled a $70 billion-plus stimulus package to help low-income families that she calls invisible Americans.

"There will be no invisible Americans when I'm president of the United States," said Clinton.

Chicago Alderman Danny Solis, who's sister runs the Clinton campaign, says Hillary has the edge over Barack Obama among Latino voters.

"It's the track record. What she's done, to me, is a good barometer of what she's going to do but among Hispanics," said Solis.

"I don't buy it," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Obama supporter.

Congressman Jackson's been campaigning for Obama in South Carolina, where his congressional colleague James Clyburn, the state's most influential black politician, is apparently ready to endorse Obama because of less-than-flattering comments Bill and Hillary Clinton made about Obama and Martin Luther King.

"He understands Barack Obama. He understands our campaign for hope. And I believe in the final analysis that Jim Clyburn will give us a fair nod," Jackson said.

The other Democrat still in the race, John Edwards, is launching another 24-7 caravan in South Carolina, where another loss may force him out of the race.

And on the Republican side, it's the same South Carolina or bust strategy for Fred Thompson. While New Hampshire primary winner John McCain is splitting his time between Michigan, where the voting is next Tuesday, and South Carolina. And some of Rudy Giuliani's senior staffers are working without pay temporarily so the campaign has more cash for TV ads in Florida, a must win state for a candidate who is pretty much ignoring all of the smaller states leading up to Florida and 22 other states on February 5.

The lightest moment on the campaign trail Friday came at the Clinton event in California where a young man shouted, "Hillary, marry me, baby." She smiled and called it the kindest offer in awhile, but said she'd probably be arrested if she said yes. At another Clinton event earlier in the week a heckler kept yelling, "Iron my shirt." Nothing similar to report from any of the other campaigns Friday.