Clinton Looks Ahead to Texas

Hillary Clinton is looking past Tuesday's losses in the Potomac Primary and Wisconsin's primary next week. She's already in Texas preparing for the state's presidential nominating contest on March 4.

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DAVID GREENE: This is David Greene traveling with the Clinton campaign.

It was clear Hillary Clinton wasn't expecting good news from the Potomac primaries. Hours before polls closed, she was already on a plane flying west.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York, Presidential Candidate): Well, I can't think of any better place to start our campaign for Texas than right here in El Paso.

GREENE: She came to El Paso for a rally that drew more than 10,000 people. It was an electric atmosphere that seemed to give Clinton an emotional boost. She never mentioned her losses in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She did talk about 1972, when she was working for the Democratic National Committee and registering voters along the Mexican border.

Sen. CLINTON: We had a chance to go into people's homes, we ate a lot of great food, we listened to some wonderful music, and we registered a few voters, too. Well, here I am back in Texas, and I'm asking the children of those voters to vote for me for their future.

GREENE: Clinton has seen a string of defeats since Super Tuesday. Next week there's a primary in Wisconsin, and she'll be heading there in a few days. But to regain momentum, her campaign is really looking farther ahead, to March 4th, when Texas and Ohio have primaries. Here in Texas, she's counting on support from the state's Latino population, voters like Chris Frias(ph). He's 31, he left his job at a sugar company early yesterday to make it to see Clinton. He said he had shaken off her losses earlier in the day.

Mr. CHRIS FRIAS (Clinton Supporter): Unfortunately, that demographic over there was more for Obama. He gets a lot of the smaller states and stuff like that. That's fine. But she's here in Texas now, so we got to support her.

GREENE: Frias said one person who's always inspired him is his mother, who came to El Paso from Mexico.

Mr. FRIAS: Since the day she set foot here when she was 17 years old, she's been working hard, raising our house, you know, making sure everything was good to go.

GREENE: And Hillary Clinton, he said, has the same mix of compassion and strength as his mom.

Mr. FRIAS: Honestly, I have to be honest, past presidential elections, I really haven't been involved in them. I really didn't care for them. I was like, whatever, you know, and this was the first time that I really - since the beginning when I heard that Hillary was going to run for president, I've been on it, I've been every day, you know, researching how she's doing, where she's going.

GREENE: Clinton's advisers hope she's going to turn things around in the next phase of the campaign. She has suffered a string of losses and shaken up her staff. Her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, stepped aside Sunday, and yesterday her deputy, Mike Henry, said he's leaving, too. In a memo, Henry called on campaign staff to rally around their new leaders.

David Greene, NPR News, McAllen, Texas.

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