Clinton takes Pennsylvania

By Kaitlin Barr
April 24, 2008

jonathan D. nimerfroh/main line times

Hillary Clinton edged Barack Obama and won the state of Pennsylvania in the Democratic primary held on April 22. Almost a week after the candidates took part in a debate held in Philadelphia, Clinton finished on top, with a double-digit lead.

More than 10 million viewers tuned in to listen to Clinton and Obama battle with words in a debate held at the National Constitution Center before the Pennsylvania primary, making it the most watched of the 21 Democratic debates so far this election season.

Pennsylvania’s primary is one of much importance to both presidential Democratic candidates, for 158 convention delegates are at stake, which is the largest amount of delegates left to obtain before the primaries end on June 3.

Although Obama leads Clinton in the delegate race 1637-1495, each state is important to both candidates; and this Pennsylvania primary would be a major victory for either hopeful.

For the first 52 minutes of the 90-minute debate, hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos chose not to ask questions on critical issues such as the economy, gas prices and health care, and focused on media gossip that has occurred since the last debate held six weeks ago.

Recently while campaigning, Obama said that residents living in small towns become bitter because of economic adversity and, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”

When the question of his statement was brought up in the debate, he said that was attempting to say that “because voters feel ignored by government, they end up being much more concerned about votes around things like guns where traditions have been passed on from generation to generation. And those are incredibly important to them.”

Questions pertaining to the upcoming election were finally asked such as economic issues and the Iraq war, and few things were agreed on.

Clinton and Obama agreed that they would forcefully respond if Iran obtained nuclear weapons and threatened to use them against Israel.

Both also pledged not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000.

For the first time publicly, each candidate verbally stated that they believed their competition could potentially beat Senator John McCain in the election this upcoming fall.

“Yes, yes, yes,” Clinton said when she was asked whether Obama could win.

“Absolutely, and I’ve said it before,” Obama added before he reiterated that he believes he is the overall better candidate.

The candidates jointly agreed to the fact that the Bush administration has put the country in an awful position, and each explained differently as to why they would be the better president.

In closing statements, Obama said, “My point to the super delegates would be that, if we’re going to deliver on health care for every American, improve our schools, deliver on jobs, then it’s going to be absolutely vital we form a new political coalition in this country. That’s what we’ve been doing in this campaign, and that’s what I’m going to do when I’m president of the United States of America.”

Clinton finished with a strong statement letting the American people, and especially Pennsylvanians know that she is the best choice. Final statements in which aided her overall victory in Pennsylvania.

“I am running for president because I know we can meet the challenges of today, that we can continue to fulfill that promise that was offered to successive generations of Americans, starting here, so long ago. Because I believe with all my heart that we, the people, can have the kind of future that our children and grandchildren so richly deserve.”

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Kaitlin Barr

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