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Politics and Porn as the Sin City Caucus Looms

By Paul Kane
LAS VEGAS -- With the Nevada caucus nine days away, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton decided to make a quick campaign stop today in Las Vegas as a sign of her intention to make some showing in "Sin City", the epicenter of the pivotal next stage in her fight to win the Democratic nomination.

It's unclear how much of a welcome wagon she'll be receiving.

It's not just that the most powerful labor group in Las Vegas, the Culinary Union, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama yesterday. Outside the Las Vegas Hilton, an electronic billboard blasts a slogan all too similar to that of her top competitor's: "CHANGE IS GOOD."

(The billboard is advertising "Menopause", a musical hyping itself as a "hilarious celebration about women and the change.")

Clinton knows a lot about change. After running a campaign based on inevitability, she was caught off guard by Obama's insurgent generation-Y "change" movement in the Iowa caucuses. Then, on the brink of a massive staff shakeup and expecting a drubbing in New Hamsphire, Clinton found herself the unexpected winner of the first presidential primary there earlier this week.

After initial signs that she might completely bypass Nevada, which used the political muscle of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to secure this plum spot as the second caucus state, Clinton has come to Las Vegas for an event to highlight the mortgage crisis. This is part of the campaign's increased focus on the economy, which buoyed her votes among working class New Hamsphire voters.

How the Nevada caucus will turn out is an open question. The state, which has more than 300,000 registered Democrats, has never held a high-profile caucus or primary -- unlike Iowa and New Hampshire.

In those states, Obama benefited from high turnout in his battle against Clinton. Here, the opposite could be true. If turnout is low and driven by the Culinary Union, as well as the Obama-endorsed local chapter of the Service Employees International Union, it may be impossible for Clinton to overcome that institutional edge.

But Las Vegas today wasn't buzzing with excitement about Clinton, nor even for Obama's trip here tomorrow.

Instead, the 150,000 conventioneers in town for the Consumer Electronics Association show were wrapping up one the glitziest events of the year to make way for another big-in-Las Vegas event.

The Mandalay Bay Casino will be hosting the 25th annual Adult Video News Awards show, the "Oscars" of the porn industry, on Saturday night.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 10, 2008; 5:26 PM ET
 
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