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Michigan Win Fuels Sanders' Campaign; He's Counting On Winning 3 States

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Michigan Win Fuels Sanders' Campaign; He's Counting On Winning 3 States

Politics

Michigan Win Fuels Sanders' Campaign; He's Counting On Winning 3 States

Michigan Win Fuels Sanders' Campaign; He's Counting On Winning 3 States

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Bernie Sanders is hoping to change the story of the Democratic race by winning in Missouri, Illinois and Ohio. Steve Inskeep talks to Bob Buckhorn, the mayor of Tampa.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

You know, a political moment stands out to me. It was eight years ago at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. I had covered Hillary Clinton's entire campaign. And after her bruising primary battle with Barack Obama, I watched as Hillary Clinton made the announcement. She was dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination, giving up the chance at that point to become the first woman president.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: And although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

GREENE: Next time - well, fast-forward to yesterday, and I was walking through a neighborhood in suburban Cleveland, talking to voters ahead of today's Ohio primary. And John and Laura Boris (ph) were on their lawn. They told me they remembered that moment. They're both teachers working with disabled students. They voted for Hillary Clinton last time, and they were primed to vote for her again in 2016. But one person complicated that - Bernie Sanders.

LAURA BORIS: Eight years ago, I swore I would support Hillary to the ends of the Earth. And if she was going to run, I was going to take time off and I was going to go and support and be - so it was really hard for me this year because I think Bernie speaks to everything that John and I believe in as people, as teachers, as humanists, as socialists.

You know, I've been accused of being - people have called me a socialist like it's a bad thing in the past. But to me, it just means caring about everybody. So I think we had the support Bernie.

GREENE: Did you support Hillary in the primary in 2008?

L. BORIS: Yeah, oh, yeah, yeah.

GREENE: So when she drops out, Barack Obama gets the nomination, you said at that point I am going to vote for her in eight years if she's running.

L. BORIS: Yeah, very much (laughter).

JOHN BORIS: We still might. We still might have that opportunity in November, yes. We don't know that.

GREENE: That is John and Laura Boris talking to me in suburban Cleveland.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, hold that thought for a moment because we're about to talk with a Hillary Clinton supporter here in Tampa. First, NPR's Tamara Keith reports on what the Democratic contenders are saying.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Bernie Sanders is a man running like everything is on the line. Yesterday alone, the Vermont senator made five stops in four states, speaking to his trademark huge crowds in Chicago, St. Louis, Mo., Charlotte, N.C., Youngstown and Akron in Ohio.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BERNIE SANDERS: When people come out to vote in large numbers to reclaim their democracy, we win. When voter turnout is low, we lose. Let's make sure that tomorrow we have a huge voter turnout.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: After Sanders' surprise win in Michigan last week, he's hoping to change the story of the Democratic race by winning in Missouri, Illinois and Ohio. Then it won't matter that Hillary Clinton has a massive delegate lead. Sanders' Midwestern mojo will be the headline tomorrow morning.

And at every campaign stop, Sanders is talking about the differences between himself and Clinton, like his long-standing opposition to free trade deals.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SANDERS: She supported virtually every one of those major disastrous trade agreements.

(BOOING)

KEITH: Exit polls indicate that in Michigan trade was a winning issue for Sanders. Clinton spoke to this concern at a rally at a union hall in Chicago.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: I'm going to fight for American labor. I'm going to fight for working people. I'm going to fight for good jobs with rising incomes.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: But among those I spoke to in the crowd, there was a nagging concern. Clinton supporters, like Bruce Nagel with the Bricklayers Union, worried that after Michigan Clinton is in danger of losing Illinois, the state where she grew up.

BRUCE NAGEL: At first, I thought Hillary would carry it with no problem, but I think the party has the weight going right now, and I don't know if it's going to carry over in here.

KEITH: In his speeches, Sanders is running hard against Clinton. Meanwhile, Clinton spent much of her day Monday in the Chicago area not mentioning Sanders at all.

She was in more intimate settings, trying to shore up support among voters her campaign needs to turn out in a big way to win Illinois and beyond - African-Americans, union workers and Latinos. Clinton dropped in on a workshop where people were learning to help immigrants become citizens so they can vote in November.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: So we especially need you now because I know people are worried and they're afraid by some of what they are hearing.

KEITH: Clinton was alluding to Donald Trump's rhetoric about immigration.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: We have to have a big vote tomorrow that can send a strong message that love trumps hate.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: But as Clinton tries to demonstrate she's the best candidate to take on Donald Trump, today's results will determine whether she's making that pivot prematurely.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Tamara Keith. And we're now joined by Bob Buckhorn. He's a Hillary Clinton supporter, and he's the mayor of Tampa, Fla. Mayor, thanks for the welcome your city's given us the last day or so.

BOB BUCKHORN: Good morning.

INSKEEP: Glad you're here. Hard fight for Hillary Clinton in the Midwest, bigger leads in the South - what's the difference?

BUCKHORN: Well, I think it's a 25-year relationship. It's a relationship that's deep, that's solid, that's not transactional. It's not superficial. The Clintons have been a part of Florida's life for a long time, and we recognize that Hillary Clinton, in our estimation, is the best candidate and best prepared.

INSKEEP: Had the Clintons not had such a relationship with Michigan, where Clinton lost, or Ohio, where it's a tougher fight?

BUCKHORN: Well, I think the dynamics there are little bit different. I think the electorate here skews a little bit older, a little bit more African-American. Those are constituencies that the Secretary Clinton is well-versed in, that they like her, they admire her. They're going to vote for her today. And perhaps in Michigan it was a little bit of a different dynamic.

Obviously, trade is a bigger issue in Michigan. The globalization and the loss of jobs is a bigger issue in Michigan. It's more of a working-class population. The dynamics here in Florida where presidents are picked, particularly here in Tampa, the I-4 corridor, is a very different and more unique environment for her.

GREENE: Mayor, it's David Greene in Ohio.

BUCKHORN: Sure, David.

GREENE: I wonder if I could throw a question at you and let you listen to something as you're talking about sort of trade and the importance in the Midwest. I was out yesterday canvassing with a team for Bernie Sanders. And there's a nurse named Deb McKinney (ph) and she said that she really holds Hillary Clinton accountable for jobs moving overseas and her support of free trade. And here's what she told me. Let's just listen.

DEB MCKINNEY: My ex-husband worked at a company that was outsourced, and it was the Hoover company that built sweepers. And it pretty much ruined my life (laughter). So anybody that wants to vote for trade and sending jobs overseas, I'm just not interested in, and she did, so...

GREENE: Did - and if this gets too personal tell me...

MCKINNEY: That's fine.

GREENE: But did him losing his job sort of contribute to the divorce and...

MCKINNEY: Absolutely, 100 percent, absolutely.

GREENE: You know, Mayor, she's telling me her divorce was because of her ex-husband's job moving overseas - very personal, trade very important. What does Hillary Clinton say to a voter like her?

BUCKHORN: Well, I think that's an unfair portrayal of trade in general. I mean, why would we not want to knock down over 18,000 barriers to 40 percent of the world's global economy? I mean, I think opening up trade is a good thing. I think - we really ought to be focused on how the economy is changing and how the workforce, the skill set needed to compete in a global economy is changing.

I don't know that you could blame trade and opening up opportunities for American jobs and American businesses for that particular situation. So obviously the trade deals, TPP in particular, have been a long time in the works. Senator Clinton has come out in opposition to that. TPP does correct a lot of NAFTA's issues. So I think moving forward trade is a good thing. We just have to make sure that the impact on American workers is a positive thing.

INSKEEP: I want to ask about something else we've heard from voters here in Florida, Mayor Buckhorn. You mentioned that Secretary Clinton has done well among African-Americans. We've interviewed African-Americans in the last day or so and heard people not only say they support her but they support her more because of Donald Trump. They disapprove of Donald Trump.

But at the same time, Donald Trump is doing very well in the Republican primary, as you know. And we have heard in the last day or so from Democrats - white Democrats - who've said I voted for Obama, but I'm disillusioned, can't do it anymore and a couple of them even said they're going over to Trump. Is there a real danger that the Democrats could lose this state in November?

BUCKHORN: My sense is no, but we take Donald Trump very seriously. He has unfortunately tapped into a very ugly vein in the body politic. People that are supporting Donald Trump are largely angry and upset and have not received the benefits of the recovery of the Great Recession. I get that. I think Secretary Clinton understands that. But I think supporting a candidate like Donald Trump in his racist and bigoted statements to me is un-American and demeaning to the office of the presidency.

But there will be some people for whom that is appealing. That is unfortunate. That is not who we are as Americans. But for some they are so frustrated Washington, D.C., so frustrated with their elected officials that they want to change. And they see in Donald Trump the opportunity to shake up the system. I don't happen to agree with that, and I hope most Americans don't either, but there are some folks out there who do.

INSKEEP: About 15-20 seconds left. How vital is the Latino vote going to be in November in the state?

BUCKHORN: In the state of Florida it's going to be critical. Certainly in the I-4 corridor, where we pick presidents, largest percentage of growth is in the Puerto Rican community. The Puerto Rican community tends to vote Democratic. That Central Florida area and the Hispanic vote is going to be absolutely critical.

INSKEEP: OK, Mayor Buckhorn, thanks very much.

BUCKHORN: Thanks for having me.

INSKEEP: Bob Buckhorn is the mayor of Tampa, Fla., and a Hillary Clinton supporter, one of many voices we're hearing as we broadcast from three cities this week. We're in Washington, D.C. We're in Cleveland, Ohio, and we're here in Tampa, Fla.

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