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Clinton Reaches Out in Two Must-Win States
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Clinton Reaches Out in Two Must-Win States

Election 2008

Clinton Reaches Out in Two Must-Win States

Clinton Reaches Out in Two Must-Win States
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By her own husband's estimation, Hillary Clinton needs to win Ohio and Texas on Tuesday if she is going to have a shot at the Democratic presidential nomination. With just days to go, the Clinton campaign is trying to shore up support with Hispanics in Texas and blue-collar workers in Ohio.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel. As another month of feverish campaigning ends, here are some numbers.

BLOCK: In the tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton has 1,035 pledged delegates and 241 and a half superdelegates. The half comes from Democrats abroad.

SIEGEL: Barack Obama leads with 1,187 pledged delegates, 191 superdelegates say they're supporting him. Those numbers come from the Associated Press.

BLOCK: Hillary Clinton's future may be decided in Texas and Ohio, those primaries are on Tuesday. We're going to hear about both Clinton and Obama on the campaign trail.

First to NPR's David Greene, who's in Texas with the Clinton campaign.

DAVID GREENE: The campaign is feeling like a war in two theaters - Ohio and Texas. And for Hillary Clinton, it's been about protecting her territory in both.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): Wow. Hello, Houston.

GREENE: Clinton landed in Houston late last night. She reminded a crowd of a few thousand of what she called the Texas two-step. She said if they really want to help her, they must vote in the primary and come to a caucus meeting Tuesday night when more delegates are awarded.

Sen. CLINTON: We need you to come and be present and stand up and make sure your voice is heard, because Texas matters. Texas will help pick the next president of the United States.

GREENE: Clinton's effort did hit one bump this week. One of her backers, Adelfa Callejo, an 84-year-old Dallas lawyer, was being interviewed on a local TV station, KTVT. Callejo said many Latinos remain skeptical that African-American leaders look out for them. And she said this about Obama…

Ms. ADELFA CALLEJO (Lawyer and Activist; Clinton Supporter): Obama simply has a problem that he happens to be black.

GREENE: The comment came a day after Clinton called on Obama to denounce and reject his support from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Clinton heard about Callejo's remarks for the first time while being interviewed by the same Dallas station.

(Soundbite of interview)

Unidentified Man: Is this something where you reject and denounce her support because of her comments?

Sen. CLINTON: Oh, people have every reason to express their opinions. I just don't agree with that. I think that we should be looking at the individuals who are running, and that is certainly what I intend to do.

GREENE: Clinton, like Obama, spent time in both Texas and Ohio this week. The states have little in common, although there is this.

Mr. KENT HALEY (Assistant Manager, Bob Evans Restaurant): This is Rio Grande, Ohio. Pronounced rye-oh grand, it's spelled Rio Grande, but it's just a small town.

GREENE: Kent Haley is assistant manager at the Bob Evans Restaurant in town where Clinton stopped to chat up the breakfast crowd. By the way, this is no ordinary Bob Evans. It's the site of the original sausage shop that opened in 1962.

Mr. HALEY: Bob Evans and his family used to live up in there in that brick house up there.

GREENE: Haley said he, for one, is a Republican. But, he added…

Mr. HALEY: I may actually vote in the Democratic - since Ohio is open ticket, I may actually vote for Obama just because I really don't want to see Hillary in there.

GREENE: Inside the Bob Evans, there were plenty of people who saw things differently. Clinton worked her way from table to table.

Unidentified Woman #1: Senator Clinton, could I get you to sign this for my daughter?

Sen. CLINTON: Oh, sure. That's a great book. I've seen that. Yeah.

Unidentified Woman #1: Her name is Grace(ph).

GREENE: Did you all know when you came to breakfast that Hillary Clinton was going to be joining you?

Mr. ROY BLANKENSHIP(ph): We did. We come up to breakfast here once in a while anyway.

Unidentified Woman #2: It's a good place to eat.

GREENE: Roy Blankenship, a retired mechanic was having sausage and biscuits with his wife. Roy said he's always been a Bill Clinton fan.

Mr. BLANKENSHIP: I always liked Clinton. Yeah, he did everything for our country. We lived on top of the world when he was in there. At that time, there's a lot of people would need work real bad and the economy was bad and he just picked it right up.

GREENE: He said Hillary Clinton has his vote.

Mr. BLANKENSHIP: If she's just half as good as her husband was when he was president, I think it will be a great country.

GREENE: While out on the road, Clinton did an interview with PBS. She was asked about her battle against Obama.

Sen. CLINTON: I think it's great that this has been a close contest. I don't have any problem with that. I don't think I'm entitled to anything. I hate being a frontrunner. I find that sort of, you know, burdensome.

GREENE: Though it's a burden Clinton would like to have again at some point.

David Greene, NPR News, Fort Worth, Texas.

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