Obama brings campaign to Wisconsin

February 13, 2008 9:28:46 PM PST
Following a sweep of what they call the Potomac primaries Wednesday, Senator Barack Obama takes the lead over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic delegate count, but Clinton is saying she is still optimistic, this despite the recent setbacks that her campaign has had. The senator from New York is looking ahead to next month's primaries in Ohio and also in Texas.

On Wednesday there came another blow for the Clinton campaign, as Obama received the endorsement of David Wilhelm, the former Chicagoan who served as President Bill Clinton's campaign manager as well as long time advisor.

Wilhelm's decision has only increased the affection of those who waited outside fighting the wind off Lake Michigan to get inside a rally at noon Wednesday in Wisconsin. Obama has spent the day in Wisconsin, talking about his plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to fix the nation's roads and bridges and spur environmentally friendly initiatives and outlining an economic prescription for what ails this state and the country. He's talked about a range of prescriptions to fix it. But he was talking about things that his chief rival says that she had thought of first.

It is his answer to critics who say he is simply not being specific enough about what he would do as president.

In Wisconsin's "Belle City of the Lakes," they are eager to hear from the man who has got political momentum in his sails.

Obama was at the General Motors plant in Janesville earlier, where workers are weighing a buyout offer. Obama said he would spend $150 billion over the next 20 years to redevelop the nation's transportation and education infrastructure. Workers like these, he said, have been forgotten by Washington.

"It's a Washington where George Bush hands out billions of dollars of tax cuts year after year to the biggest corporations and the wealthiest few who don't need them and don't even ask for them, tax breaks that are mortgaging our children's future on a mountain of debt, tax breaks that could have gone into the pockets of the working families who needed them most," said Obama.

But his opponent, Clinton, said in an ad that Obama is forgetting about her and the people of the badger state. The ad says Clinton is the only candidate to offer a real universal healthcare plan for everyone and a moratorium on foreclosures.

"What's the real difference between Senator Clinton and her opponent?" Clinton asked a Texas crowd. "Well, about 35 years of experience, number one. But number two, I'm the only candidate left in this race who is willing to work toward universal health care because I don't want to leave anybody out."

Clinton is also upset at Obama's refusal to deabte in Wisconsin.

"I have challenged him to debate. I think the people of Wisconsin deserve to hear from both of us. That's the kind of vigorous debate and dialogue that voters deserve to have," Clinton said.

Obama spoke to a crowd of 3,000 in Racine Wednesday while Clinton spoke in Texas.

"We can't wait to fix our schools. We can't wait to fix the broken health care system. We can't wait to put people back to work. We can't wait to get our young people out of the streets and out of prison," Obama told the Racine crowd. "We can't wait to end global warming. We can't wait to bring this war in Iraq to an end. We cannot wait."

The race may come down to which senator garners the most support from super delegates, Democratic politicians and party officials who get to vote at the summer convention.

Obama's recent wins now place him atop the total delegate count. The man who was at the top of Bill Clinton's first campaign says insiders should back Obama.

"He has momentum, perhaps undeniable momentum among Democratic primary voters. His margins of victory last night were stunning. Senator Obama has a clear edge when it comes to electability this November," said Wilhelm.

Wilhelm is saying he is going to work the phones for Obama to help get those super delegates to come to the Obama camp.

The Wisconsin primary is scheduled for Tuesday as is a caucus in Hawaii.

On the Republican side, frontrunner John McCain was on Capitol Hill Wednesday. He is looking for support from his congressional colleagues. The Arizona senator was trying to win over some of his conservative critics. McCain warned that his party must unite if it hopes to match the enthusiasm being generated by the Democratic contenders.

McCain did win primaries Wednesday in Maryland and in Washington, D.C., And he narrowly beat rival Mike Huckabee in Virginia. However, his campaign continues to hold a commanding lead in delegates over Huckabee.

"I have not been one who believes that you leave the field because it's gotten difficult. You stay. You keep playing until the last second of the clock is sounding," Huckabee said.

"Of course I would like for him to withdraw today. It would be much easier. But I respect and have repeatedly said I respect his right to continue in this race for just as long as he wants to. I don't think there is a contradiction there," McCain said.

Huckabee countered that the Republican nomination is not secure until someone has 1,191 delegates.