Listeners Weigh in on Clinton-Obama Campaign Battle

Hear listener feedback to the program's recent campaign coverage from South Carolina.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk where we lift the curtain on conversations on the TELL ME MORE blog and get a chance to hear from you. Lee Hill, our Web producer, joins me here in the studio as always.

Hey, Lee, what's up?

Mr. LEE HILL, host:

Hey, Michel, welcome back from South Carolina.

MARTIN: Thank you.

HILL: You were right there in the middle of all the political action. I'm a little bit jealous. Leading up to…

MARTIN: Maybe a lot jealous.

HILL: Maybe a lot, okay.

MARTIN: But that's okay.

HILL: But it was all leading up to tomorrow's Democratic primary. So let's highlight some feedback we got on some of the things that happened while you were there. Now, Michel, in the blogosphere, I've got to tell you, it looks like the headliner was that heated Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach on Monday night sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and CNN. Here's a clip.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): While I was working on those streets, watching those folks see their jobs shipped overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Wal-Mart.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.

(Soundbite of cheering)

HILL: Sounds like the heat was on there, and there was a lot of blogging about the jabs going back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Now, both of them argue that the other candidate went too far, and people watching it refer to it as political entertainment, more like a boxing match.

Well, one of our bloggers - he goes by the name of BT wrote this note: I used to think that candidates for a party nomination should never say bad things about other members of their party, because those comments could be used by the opposing party in the later election. But, he goes on to write, maybe a testifier is needed during the primaries to temper the eventual nominee.

MARTIN: Thanks, BT.

We also received a comment from Artie(ph) who says, after watching the debate and in light of the ongoing discussion on race and gender, he was still left undecided about whom to vote for.

ARTIE (Caller): It is monumentous(ph) that we finally have both a female and a minority dominating the news and presidential campaign, both with a great chance of becoming the next president. It is obvious that this election is not about experience, change, or policy, but rather about whether gender or ethnicity is more important. I want to vote for the best policy, but I do not want to send the message that women and minorities cannot be president. I'm still unsure about how to use my vote.

HILL: And I don't think you're alone, Artie. Lots of people, believe it or not, still seem undecided.

MARTIN: Well, that's not surprising. Most of the country hasn't voted yet, Lee. But anyway, go ahead.

HILL: And moving on, we also had an interesting conversation with two very high profile women: Jacqueline Jackson and the Reverend Marcia Dyson. They're both endorsing Senator Hillary Clinton for president. Nothing unusual about that, right? Well, except for the fact that their husbands - Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Michael Eric Dyson - are supporting Senator Barack Obama.

Well, Carl(ph) wrote us about that conversation, and he says, as I listened to the interviews of Mrs. Jackson and Rev. Dyson, I was struck by the fact that enlightened self-interest is, for some, replacing racial solidarity as criteria for whom to vote. Voters are more likely to vote for that candidate whose message promises a bettering of their condition.

MARTIN: Thanks, Carl.

And for those of you interested in learning more about our trip to South Carolina, I blogged from the campaign trail. And, Lee, I hear you've assembled quite a multimedia package from our trip.

HILL: Well, that's correct. We have been experimenting with a few things here. If you go to our Web site, listeners can find a video presentation of our beauty shop conversation aired earlier in the week and an audio slideshow of how South Carolinians in the state's capital celebrated the Martin Luther King Holiday.

MARTIN: Thanks, Lee. And remember to tell us more about what you think and see what other listeners are saying. You can go to npr.org/tellmemore and blog it out.

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