Philly Voters on Race and a Long Election

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First in a Series

NPR's David Greene also spoke with Pittsburgh voters about how Clinton's candidacy remains tied to her husband's legacy.

Twenty percent of Pennsylvania's registered Democrats live in Philadelphia.

This concentration of Democratic voters, combined with the city's large population of African Americans, makes it an important battleground in the state's upcoming primary on April 22.

At the old Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia residents, including mental health care worker Lynn McCleary, pick up lunch from one of the market's many food stalls.

McCleary, who is black, says she is struggling with whom to vote for, particularly since she feels like many members of her community are gravitating toward Illinois Sen. Barack Obama simply because of his race.

"People don't want to admit [it], but when you come up with silly answers for why you're voting for someone, you really can only relate it to race," she says.

Another voter, Kevin McAleese, says he takes the economy and national security into account when examining the presidential candidates. Although he is a registered Democrat, he says he may support Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

"I'm not saying the Democratic candidates are not capable. It's that I just don't feel a comfort level with it yet. The message is not that clear to me that they're confident enough to handle the job from that perspective," he says. He says he wants someone in the White House who could make tough decisions during wartime or after a terrorist attack.

McAleese does not mind if New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's and Obama's campaigns last through the summer until the convention, he says. But he does not feel like he is learning anything new about the candidates and their stands from this extended primary season and instead is waiting for the general election for the real debate.



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