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Organization May Be Key

At some polling places in the Washington suburbs today, Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign appeared to have an edge in organization.

Staff writer Lisa Rein reports that it was hard to spot a Hillary Clinton sign at some precincts in Prince George's and Montgomery counties. Both jurisdictions are densely populated Democratic strongholds that will be crucial in determining the winner in the party's primary.

Rein reports that there were no Clinton signs at the Village Baptist Church in Bowie, where a mix of retirees and young families voted at lunchtime. Even Republican long shot Ron Paul was represented by two signs in the church parking lot, and a few Obama for Prince George's signs were staked into the grass. None for Clinton.

This does not mean there were no Clinton supporters. But it is a sign that Obama's supporters may be better organized and excited in Prince George's, a majority-black county that he is expected to carry.

Richard and Mary Mascaro, ages 72 and 72 respectively, drove up at 12:40 p.m. and said they would cast their ballots for Clinton, based largely on her long years of public service.

"He's just getting his feet wet," Richard Mascaro, said of Obama. Said his wife, "I just like her expertise." Mary Mascaro allowed that Hillary Clinton is "smarter than Bill."


At Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, which serves a diverse immigrant community, college students Lee Tran and John Ly were divided: he for Obama, she for Clinton.

"I'm for female power!" declared Tran, 19 a pharmacy student at Montgomery College. Ly, 22, who is studying at the University of Maryland, chose Obama because he believes Clinton "is running a smear campaign." He was not specific. Both agreed that the candidates' positions on issues are similar. So for Tran and Ly, as it was for many voters, gut feelings took over.

Meanwhile, in Howard and Anne Arundel counties, staff writer Mary Otto reports that Clinton is finding support.
"I voted for Hillary Clinton," said Pam DeCicco, a 41-year-old white working mother as she left her polling place at Jessup Elementary School, the snow beginning to fall.

DeCicco, who works for a Howard County non-profit organization that assists homeless families said she has been impressed by Clinton's detailed plans for resolving the nation's challenges. She thinks Clinton's thoughtful approach was even apparent in her television ads.

"For her advertisements, you had to pay attention. Obama's ads were quick sound-bytes. They annoyed me."

At the Bain Center, a senior center in Columbia, Maria Gonzalez, 63, an artist said she also voted for Clinton. She said voters on Tuesday shared an obligation "to go in and change this mess" created by the Bush administration.
"Let's cross our fingers," she said.

By Philip Rucker  |  February 12, 2008; 5:47 PM ET
 
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