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Clinton Courts S.C.'s Top Democrat

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- After a stop for a late lunch at Chick-Fil-A -- without question one of the country's best fast food restaurants -- The Fix made his way east to Charleston for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's second public event of the day.

Unlike her earlier appearance in Columbia, the room where Clinton spoke was not adorned with banners touting "Hillary for President" and other campaign slogans. This was an event in honor of Rep. Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in the House Democratic leadership, and Clinton was sure not to overshadow the influential legislator.

"Jim Clyburn made it the old fashioned way," said Clinton. "He earned it."

Clinton praised Clyburn as a go-to member of Congress, saying: "He tries to find common ground and then stands his ground whenever it's necessary." He has previously said he will not endorse any of the Democrats in the primary process.

The show was stolen -- as usual -- by former Sen. Fritz Hollings, who introduced Clyburn. Hollings regaled the audience with a story about how Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, was initially skeptical about Clinton but was quickly won over. "She had that rascal eating out of her hand," said Hollings. "We'd be lucky to have her as president."

A few notes from the road:

* Clinton made a slight misstep earlier today when she was describing the state's distinct geographic areas, pledging to campaign from the "Lowlands to the Midlands to Upstate." South Carolina political aficionados know the southern reaches of the state -- including Charleston -- are known as the "Lowcountry" not the "Lowlands."

* The biggest applause line of the day came when Clinton asked rhetorically whether a woman could be president. The crowd erupted in a spontaneous standing ovation.

* Clinton's religious faith was on display throughout the day. In Columbia she bowed her headed and nodded repeatedly as the invocation was offered. During her remarks about Clyburn in Charleston, she referenced the book of James, which she called one of her favorite books in the Bible.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 19, 2007; 8:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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