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A Competitive Primary, a Family Divided

By Jose Antonio Vargas
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- With Super Tuesday only three days away, these are very tense times at the Roybal-Caballero household in the southeast foothills of this sprawling city.

Patricia Roybal, 57, is voting for Sen. Hillary Clinton.

"She's spent the last 35 years fighting for social justice. She's been involved in creating many changes in terms of health care. She's actually been someone I can relate to 100 percent," said Roybal, a public health administrator. "She's ready. She's more than ready."

But her husband, Carlos Caballero, 53, is backing Sen. Barack Obama.

"I was attracted to Obama since he spoke at the Democratic National Convention. I said, 'Wow, who is he?'" said Caballero, a retired college professor. "Obama has held on to his positions. He has hardly ever wavered. He hasn't reinvented himself throughout the campaign."

In their 23 years of marriage, Roybal and Caballero have never been this politically split before, the couple say.

They agreed in 1992 (Bill Clinton), 1996 (Bill Clinton), 2000 (Al Gore) and 2004 (John Kerry). "I mean, come on, the Democratic party hasn't seen a primary race like this in a long, long time," Caballero said.

To make matters worse, even their two sons are divided. Salistino, 19, a business major the University of New Mexico, is for Obama -- and can't stop talking about him. Yusef, 35, an entertainment producer in Los Angeles, is leaning towards Clinton.

To the parents, both of whom are Hispanic, Clinton and Obama both represent "change." They just happen to each define change differently. Change is "about solutions, about results," Roybal said, and "Clinton can show us the kind of changes she's made happen. To Caballero, change is "about possibility, about looking at what is possible," and Obama, he reasoned, has been "a proven" state legislator and community organizer.

So who won Thursday's debate, the last before Tuesday's vote in 22 states, some with sizable Hispanic populations?

"Definitely Obama," said Caballero. "He extended his hand of good will. He showed his character. We need somebody with strong character to improve our status in the world, to improve problems here at home, to improve our economy..."

Roybal cut him off. "No, no, no. Clinton won," she countered. "Clinton had the best line of the night. Something like, 'We need another Clinton to clean up after another Bush.' And remember the economy of the '90s? Remember how strong the economy was in those years?" Roybal added, almost glaring at her husband.

Caballero smiled, gently brushed the right shoulder of his wife, and nodded. "Good economic years, the 90s," he finally said.

In Spanish, "caballero" means gentleman.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 2, 2008; 7:29 PM ET
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Hillary clinton has the experience and brains to get out out of the mess created by GWB and cronies.. barack obama is a great orator but where is the beef .. all his programs how is going to pay for them>?
he is long on talk .. short on details and the national press coverage gives him a pass... a dream ticket would be clinton obama 08.. give her 8 years and then obama steps in for 8 of his own,,,, dems for the next 16! sounds good to me .. & obama is smart but is no saint .... his campaign has played dirty tricks just like they all have politics is a dirty game !!!

Posted by: delgirl27 | February 3, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What would you do if your candidate of choice loses the Party Nomination?


Posted by: jeffboste | February 3, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse


Obama will do anything to get elected as well. His campaign has been sending flyers out saying Clinton would fine people who don't get healthcare. She's never said that. And, speaking of push-polls. The way the media gushes over him, I think Obama's entire campaign has been a push-poll.

If anyone has any doubt that his campaign is not about race, imagine a white guy with Obama's meager resume running for president. He wouldn't stand a chance.

Posted by: brigittepj | February 3, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The LA Times reports "Pro-Clinton push poll erupts in California". What a shock that the Clintons would engage in this kind of slime.

When things looked bad after Iowa, the Clinton camp sent out that nasty mailer about Obama. Now this.

Hillary Clinton will do anything to get elected.

Posted by: JasonT910 | February 3, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

U.S. Veteran's letter 2-03-08
Written by Peter Macdonald 465 Packersfalls rd Lee NH 03824 603-659-6217
A Veteran's Letter to the editor should never be censored or edit. A Veteran's letter by law should take precedence in the newspapers. All Veterans letters should (no matter how questionable) by law must be printed. To protect the news media a disclaimer can be place before or after the letter or a law placing responsibility of the truth being on the letter writer. Letters are the opinion of the people. Veterans are the children that give their youth and lives for the U.S. Constitution. Veterans lose that innocent feeling that allows the others (U.S. citizens)to believe and seek harmony. Veterans gain that unrelenting flash-back of memory of the inhuman way that we lived and acted. Every Veteran that has been there see every day (of their remaining lives) that reminder. To censor or edit the opinion of a Veteran demonstrates the artificial respect that the U.S. believes Veteran's deserve.
A Veteran returning to the "World" U.S. takes off the uniform and blends into society. A returning Veteran for years (if not for ever) will be silent of the atrocities that the Veteran was committed to engage in. Society (protesters state side) dictates that our actions are wrong but the Politicians that have never been there command us to do. Naïve children (just starting life) commit the unspeakable to defend and protect U.S. citizen's freedom and the veterans come home to be labeled baby killers and criminals. Suicide becomes our only option to protect you (U.S. citizens) from learning the crimes of humanity that we engage in. Many returning Veterans become homeless, have failed relationships or worse and are locked up in jail to protect society from these children that gave everything. Are the Veterans returning to the world to be stereotyped the Veteran Bums? (useless leaches on the political budget) The U.S. politicians have placed limits on care for returning Veterans because pet projects pleases the element of society (voters) better. Veterans no longer serve any use full productive purpose to society.
To limit the words of a Veteran, to censor the opinion of a Veteran, to question the motive or actions of a Veteran is the most unethical, criminal, insulting act the U.S. can bestow on the memory of the children that gave everything for you. I love the United States of America and I believe in a civilized society peace full protest will some day allow this Veterans words and opinion to be heard.
Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi

Posted by: usmcsgt | February 3, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

A new series of polls has Obama surging ahead in California and tying Clinton in Missouri and in New Jersey. Anything could truly happen on Tuesday it seems. Check this round-up of polls here:

Posted by: campaigndiaries | February 3, 2008 3:46 AM | Report abuse

Obama's unique qualities will certainly help him to become the first African American US president in the near future. The only reason that he can not become the president now is that he lacks experience to fight the rightwing Republican machine during the November election. Obama constantly talks about "Change". Sure. Every new president wants to change the country to his way of thinking. Don't forget that the constitution has lots of checks and balances. No president can change anything unless he gets support from congress and judiciary. Obama has spent 3 years in congress. Hillary has spent 7 years. Furthermore, it is well known that she has contributed a lot with bipartisan support. To change Washington requires a lot of experience. Therefore, she has more experience than Obama to "change". Obama, no doubt, deserves to be a President. Only he needs more experience to deal with congress and judiciary. His time will come in 2016!
Also he does not know how to handle Congress to get things done. Without being able to arm-twist the congress to his way of thinking, all his lofty proposals will go down the drain! Unlike Hillary, he will have difficulty fighting the Industry. Inexperience of President Bush to handle the congress and too much dependence on his inner circle of experts did him in!

Posted by: hcsubbarao | February 3, 2008 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Read the NYTimes today. Barack was paid off by Energy lobbyists to dilute and defang his energy bill. Hah!

That explains why Exelon is one of his top donors. Oh, and Axelrod, his campaign manager? Is a consultant (read: lobbyist) for a Nuclear Power company.

OMG Obama is such a hypocrite!

Posted by: fjstratford | February 3, 2008 2:56 AM | Report abuse

'Experience' isn't the same as 'successful experience'.

Clinton failed to pass health care because she can't work well with others - it's her nature. Obama got a videotaped interrogation and confession bill passed in the Illinois Senate because he was able to work across the aisle and with various special interests - it's in his nature.

Look at all the responsible adults (including Paul Volcker today) who have endorsed Barack Obama. They believe he would be the better President and ready to lead Day One.

Posted by: TomJx | February 2, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

There's absolutely nothing above about their specific policies, and I doubt whether any of the five (the family + the "reporter") know much about either candidate's policies.

Some people pick football games based on crunching stats and the like, others do it based on who has the best uniforms.

Why is the WaPo encouraging the later? (Yes, that's a rhetorical question; they prefer a dumbed-down electorate.)

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 2, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's widow, announced her endorsement of Obama today- according to the Obama web site.

Posted by: Munir1 | February 2, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's widow, announced her endorsement of Obama today- according to the Obama web site.

Posted by: Munir1 | February 2, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

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