In Texas, Clinton's Hopes Rest with Hispanics For Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic presidential nomination, she will have to win Texas. And to win Texas, she will have to win in San Antonio, where her large advantage among Hispanic voters must come into play, the way it did when she won California on Feb. 5.
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In Texas, Clinton's Hopes Rest with Hispanics

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In Texas, Clinton's Hopes Rest with Hispanics

In Texas, Clinton's Hopes Rest with Hispanics

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Next Tuesday's primary in Texas could be decisive in determining the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. Hillary Clinton's campaign is depending on the support of Hispanic voters in order to win Texas.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn went to San Antonio, a city with a majority Hispanic population.

WADE GOODWYN: On the curb of San Pedro Avenue, substitute teacher Josie Garza is sitting on a folding chair, holding up a blue Hillary Clinton sign. Garza's so close to the road, a bus mirror could take her out.

Ms. JOSIE GARZA (Substitute Teacher): We are all a family in Hillary's heart. We're one big American family regardless of age, regardless of race. She cares for everybody and she makes me proud to be an American.

GOODWYN: Texas has unexpectedly been thrust into the position of deciding who might be the next president of the United States. It's being taken very seriously around here.

Ms. GARZA: Well, my best friend that is like a sister to me, she told me that she didn't want anything to do with me if I was voting for Hillary. Fine.

GOODWYN: This is West San Antonio, heavily Hispanic, middle and working class. These neighborhoods must be Hillary Clinton's barricade if she has any hope of capturing the nomination. Inside her headquarters, it's filled with mostly women of all ages, including 83-year-old Elvira Cisneros. Cisneros and a friend are carrying about 15 large yard signs out the door. She scoffs at the notion that it's all over for Clinton.

Ms. ELVIRA CISNEROS (Clinton Supporter): That's why two senior citizens are running all this week to go into the nursing homes, to the nutrition homes, to the apartments. We feel that she has proven herself.

GOODWYN: As Cisneros talks, it slowly becomes clear that she is the mother of former San Antonio mayor and HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. Like Hillary Clinton's husband, her son also suffered some unhappy political and legal fallout from an embarrassing personal situation. Elvira Cisneros knows, more than most, something of what Hillary Clinton has been through.

Ms. CISNEROS: It shows character. It shows that you can have good and bad in your life, and I think that that's what has always appealed to me, because I've had to go though a lot myself.

Ms. PAULA BURNS(ph) (Clinton Supporter): Hello, Cesar? Yeah, Cesar. Hi, this is Paula, calling from the Hillary Clinton campaign...

GOODWYN: Around the corner, Paula Burns is in a large room with a dozen others, phone banking on her cell phone.

Ms. BURNS: Have you voted yet? No? Do you plan on voting? No? Oh, you're not going to vote in the primary at all? No? Any particular reason - it's really important that everyone get out there and vote, Cesar.

GOODWYN: Burns, a retired military officer, has a Democrat on the line. Frustratingly for her, he seems to be one of the few who's got no opinion about the primary.

Ms. BURNS: He said, just give me any Democrat and that's who I'm voting for, so he's not going to vote in the primary, he's only going to vote in the general. I'm like, come on Cesar, you're killing me. (Laughs)

GOODWYN: Burns is calling students at San Antonio College and she says she's been encouraged: most say they've already voted for Clinton. Burns would be even more encouraged if she went to the corner of Southwest Military Drive in Zarzamora. It's a huge intersection and dozens of young Clinton supporters have a love-fest with drivers at rush hour.

(Soundbite of girls screaming)

Mr. GARY MORROW (Clinton Supporter): When I read the national press, I get depressed and think the campaign's over. And then when I start calling the Eagle Pass and Corpus Christi, we're having huge turnouts.

GOODWYN: Gary Morrow is running the Clinton campaign in Texas and it seems he hasn't surrendered yet.

Mr. MORROW: I keep wanting to tell these journalists, go back to elementary school where you can learn to count. Barack Obama needs to win Texas as bad as Hillary Clinton does.

GOODWYN: The latest poll released last night shows Clinton with 46 percent of the vote and Obama with 45. It's a dead heat.

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News.

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