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Democratic Giants Court N.M. Hispanics

By Jose Antonio Vargas
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- When it comes to surrogates, they don't get much better than this: Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton, icons of the Democratic Party, in command performances as their fiery, charismatic, distinctively-accented selves.

You'd think they were running for president again.

In a span of four hours, just three miles apart, Sen. Kennedy and former president Clinton held court in Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, the most heavily Hispanic state in the nation. Kennedy, escorted by his wife, Vicki, barnstormed the state today, first appearing at the National Hispanic Cultural Center here, then quickly driving an hour north to Santa Fe Community College. Both were billed as "community gatherings" -- and if this morning's event was any indication, they were relatively small gatherings. About 250 people showed up at the Cultural Center, though they were so loud in applauding Kennedy's entrance ("Fired up, ready to go!" a lady yelled out) that an alarm went off.

Not to be outdone, Clinton drove up and down the state, too. He was in Santa Fe in the morning for a private fundraiser. By 3 p.m., he was being introduced to more than 2,500 Albuquerque rally attendees -- young and old, men and women, many Hispanic -- by Dolores Huerta and Martin Chavez, two of the biggest marquee Hispanic names in New Mexico and nationwide. Huerta, a native New Mexican, is co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America. Chavez is Albuquerque's mayor, and a loyal backer of the Clintons. "The reason that Hispanics in New Mexico support Hillary is when she looks at us, she doesn't see Hispanics," Chavez said. "She sees Americans."

To watch Kennedy and Clinton in person is to see two great orators at work, their speeches impassioned and detailed, their rhetorical flourishes sharp.

"Change is in the air," Kennedy said this morning, taking a page from Sen. Barack Obama's playbook. "It's really up now to each and every one of you." At the end of his speech, after citing Obama's "good judgment" and "good plans" about health care, the war in Iraq and immigration reform, Kennedy, his roaring voice drowned out by cheers, asked the crowd: "Are you gonna help us? Are you gonna help us? Are you gonna help us?"

Clinton was just as forceful. He kept the focus on conveying his wife's plans if she gets to the White House, from tackling health care reform and global warming to making college more affordable. In the past, he's been criticized for attacking Obama. Today, Obama's name did not come up once in Clinton's nearly 30-minute speech. Drawing from his standard stump speech, Clinton said of Sen. Clinton, "I tell you: Knowing what I know about the demands of the presidency, I would be here if she asked me to, even if we weren't married."

Kennedy and Clinton are beloved figures in the Hispanic community. Kennedy's relationship with Hispanics dates back to the '60s. His brothers, former president John F. Kennedy and former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, put an end to unfair working conditions for migrant workers. More recently, Kennedy, as one of the most senior members of the Senate, worked on behalf of immigration reform. Clinton, for his part, is remembered for the prosperous economy of the 1990s. As Chavez pointed out in his introduction, there were "more Hispanics appointed [to government positions] than at any time in history" during the Clinton years.

Hispanics gathered at today's events showed Clinton's and Obama's draw.

"Some people seem to think that Hillary has a lock on the Hispanic vote," Michael Casaus, 35, an environmental organizer, told The Trail after listening to Kennedy. "I don't believe that at all. Sure, we Hispanics, we remember how good it was during the Clinton years. But we're not voting about the past. We're voting about the future. And Obama's the future."

But standing outside the Johnson Center gymnasium at the University of New Mexico waiting for Clinton's arrival, 69-year-old Mary Yarritu offered a different view.

"Look, this election is as much about the past as it is about the present. Obama's wet behind the ears. He needs seasoning, he needs experienced. This is not his time," Yarritu said. "This is Hillary's time, and we Hispanics are behind her all the way."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 31, 2008; 7:21 PM ET
 
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Comments

Yes We Can Vote Democracy over Dynasty


I'm going to keep this simple and straight to the point.

If Hillary Clinton is ANYWHERE on the ticket, I will change my registration to Independent and vote Republican for the first time in my life.

I know what some people are thinking as they read this blog..."We don't want another Republican in the White House"..."The Republicans are far worse than Hillary Clinton"..."Vote for the lesser of 2 evils"

I know that this thinking may sound plausible...because we have been trained by the pundits to think this way. When we have come to the point when we are led to choose between "the lesser of two evils" we have to come to terms of reality that our democracy is slipping away from the true values of the American people. If you believe this cynical view, then you're voting out of fear instead of conviction.

We see right now that the balance of power has shifted towards the Executive Branch when the son, George Bush 2, of a President, George Bush 1, is in the White House.

We can't even begin to imagine how the balance of power will continue to shift to the Executive Branch if we have 2 presidents, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, in the White House at the same time for the first time in our history.

It strikes me in awe that people are so blind by their self-interest of winning and in fact state their reason for voting for Hillary Clinton simply because of having a president, Bill Clinton that already served the full 2 terms, back in the White House which would otherwise be unconstitutional. But at the same time these same people are wide awake and realize that a 2nd term of the Bush family was the worse thing that happened in the history of our Democracy.

Let me be very clear with my view on this.

My vote will not be against Hillary Clinton.
My vote will not be against the Democratic Party.
My vote will not be for the Republican Party.
My vote is bigger than Barack Obama.
My vote is for Democracy over Dynasty.

Too many times we have seen our "loyal" vote taken for granted by the Democratic Party, as well as, the Republican Party. So I say here today...

My vote is not going to be a Democratic vote.
My vote is not going to be a Republican vote.
My vote will be an American vote for justice, peace and prosperity of Democracy.

America, we have the chance to lead the world in setting aside the Ideological, Partisan, and the Dynastical mind set that is so deeply rooted in Politics perpetuated by the Main Stream Media. The leaders around the world will begin to see that YES YOU CAN win by uniting people across gender, religion and race.

Because I stand for Democracy over Dynasty...because I'm an American before I'm a Democrat...I will be force to change my registration to an Independent to send a clear message to the Democratic Party that my vote will never again be taken for granted.

I ask all that agree with this blog to unite on this message of Democracy over Dynasty. Let's unite in one voice and send this message to every blog around the world...Every article that is written...Every Radio Station...Every TV Station.

YES WE CAN VOTE DEMOCRACY OVER DYNASTY.

If we do this America, Barack Obama will shock the world with the Audacity of Hope.

Posted by: mthomas722 | February 3, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I am a quiet Democratic. I listen, I watch, I analyze, I consider. Obama is the future, and Clinton is the past. Bill Clinton suffers the fate of the too successful: he has come to believe he is all-knowing, all-wise, unassailably correct - and of course, those who disagree are clearly flawed humans doomed to misguided beliefs, easily spun onto the trash heap with cheap rhetoric. This arrogance seems to be a common denominator shared by Hillary and the surrogates of her campaign as well. I for one have run out of patience and tolerance with this disdain. Its time for a change, time for a new day. I'm betting I'm not alone, and fixin to get fired up and ready to go.

Posted by: dougeducation | February 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

CASES OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LATINOS BY THE CLINTONS!

http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/hillarDy.htm

STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!

BELIEVE IN AMERICA!

BELIEVE IN BUILDING THE FUTURE AND IN CONTRIBUTING TO THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH!

SI SE PUEDE

SI SE PUEDE

SI SE PUEDE

SI SE PUEDE

SI SE PUEDE

SI SE PUEDE

Posted by: laplumelefirmament | February 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Obama, Clinton, Romney Or McCain. All very intelligent Americans. But....Which one can think deeply enough to really see the real problems of our Government. That entity which has changed us into an aggressive, untrustworthy Nation and consequently a victim of the powerful corporations,and monied interests. Which one is the strongest and most capable of making changes with the terrific pressure that now exists from lobbysts and self serving politicians, who have led us from a being a leader, to a follower in world growth and Human Expectations.
Unfortunately, our problems are much greater than the minor daily discussions over "Illegals" And the Iraqi war. Although these are still pressing problems. Our greatest problem is over the loss of Nationalism. And our failure to mainain our position in the world of sales and productiion. We were____ so far ahead of most other nations, in the welfare of our people and the road to the American dream,that the change to Global Markets and Banking have been ignored and are now those interests are in the process of making the United States the richest third world country in existance. It is one thing to open borders to Canada and Mexico for free trade. But quite another to allow our economic engine to be transfered to foreign soil and expect us to remain a leader in the world of Humanism and Strength. We have allowed the adoption of Chinese labor to the status of preference over our own workers. And the loss of the money to keep our National growth in the forefront.

Posted by: pax926 | February 2, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Robert F. Kennedy once remarked:

"All of us, from the wealthiest and most powerful of men to the weakest and hungriest of children, share one precious possession: the name 'American.' It is not easy to know what that means. But in part to be an American means to have been an outcast and a stranger, to have come to the exiles' country, and to know that he who denies the outcast and stranger among us at that moment also denies America."

During the debate Thursday night, Barack Obama echoed RFK when he said, to applause, that arguments about how the inner-city unemployment of blacks is related to the influx of immigration is a case of "scapegoating" immigrants.

Hillary, fresh from her campaign of racial coding in South Carolina, countered by claiming--against all evidence--that voters needed to realize that immigrants do take the jobs of low-income Americans.

America is tired of the arrogance, corruption and lack of that elusive thing called grace that characterized Bill Clinton's "co-presidency" with Hillary.

Clean slate !!!
Barack Obama,
'08 !!!

Martin Edwin Andersen

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 2, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

JFK was a serial philanderer, Bay of Pigs. LBJ perpetuated the Vietnam war. Nixon, criminal. Carter, serial incompetency. Reagan, soaring national debt/Iran-contra/S&L fiasco. Bush Sr, king of recession, House of Saudis. Then, Democrats, we had Bill Clinton. Get some historical perspective. Alan Greenspan called him the smartest president he had worked with. Listen: nothing is perfect in life. It was the search for perfection that doomed Gore. Don't join republicans in destroying the best presidential years in near history. If you must chuck Clintons, fine. Don't throw them overboard to the sharks. Don't skewer them. Hillary was destroyed because she wanted to get you Universal Healthcare. Her method was flawed but look where her heart was. Be kinder.

As for Obama. If this guy had to vote Present 133 times instead of taking a position in the Illinois chambers, to deny grist for republican propaganda; if he has to be politically expedient in the bluest of blue states, what the heck would he have done in the jingoistic, pressure cooker the senate was in 2002/03?! More so, what would he have done if Sears tower had been attacked rather than World Trade Center?! He is 46 years old - not that young. What has he done except organize in the streets of Chicago?! It is sad to hear him repeat that over and over again. Ethics bill? Are you kidding me? If you don't do anything, of course, you will be clean as heck. It's like dumping a veteran captain and handing the sword to a young soldier fresh from the academy and telling him to go fight because he is fresh, strong, untainted and has been known to have given expert commentary on a battle from a distant hill. One anti-war speech made from the extra safe liberal bulwarks of Illinois should not a president make. The guy has barely made any special anti-war noise in the senate, and followed the exact stroll of Hillary with respect to all bills - funding and otherwise.

Posted by: aamittal | February 1, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

His brothers, former president John F. Kennedy and former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, put an end to unfair working conditions for migrant workers.

If only that were true. Migrant farm workers still face widespread discrimination and hardship. This "article" needs a reality check.

Posted by: bakerr | February 1, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

BEWARE !!!!

TO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE FRIENDS OR RELATIVES THAT ARE ILLEGAL!

CLINTON OPPOSES ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DRIVER'S LICENSE!

IF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT GIVEN DRIVER'S LICENSES THEY WILL BE FORCED
TO BREAK THE LAW!

AND SINCE IT IS A CRIME TO BREAK THE LAW, IF CAUGHT YOU ARE EXEMPT FROM
A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP!

THIS WILL FOREVER BAN YOU FROM BEING A U.S. CITIZEN!
THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO DEPORT YOU!


OBAMA BELIEVES THAT THOSE WHO BLAME IMMIGRANTS FOR JOB LOSSES AND LOW WAGES
ARE USING LATINOS AS SCAPEGOATS. CLINTON ON THE OTHER HAND BELIEVES THAT LATINOS ARE
IN PART RESPONSIBLE FOR JOB LOSSES AND LOW WAGES.

OBVIOUSLY OBAMA IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR LATINOS IF YOU WANT TO STOP THE BLAME ON LATINOS!

SAY NO TO THE SCAPEGOATING!

SI SE PUEDE! SI SE PUEDE! SI SE PUEDE!

Posted by: laplumelefirmament | February 1, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Good feel for what's happening here. You have captured the enchantment of New Mexico's political landscape.

Posted by: rbeimer1 | February 1, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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