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22 April 2008

Sandwich war on Philly streets

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There are killer sandwiches in Philadelphia, candidate killers that is. Remember John Kerry back in 2004 asking for Swiss cheese instead of the Philly favourite "cheez whiz" on his cheesesteak sandwich. He was mocked as an effete snob on the talk shows that Joe and Jill Sixpack listen to from one end of the country. (Kerry was right; by the way the "cheeze whizz" sandwiches are disgusting). But the story, along with the famous photograph of Kerry on a windsurfer did more to damage him than all the infamous Swift Boat attacks by the Republicans. Today there is another Philly sandwich war going on. This time it’s between the Clinton and Obama camps at Di Bruno bros famous deli on Chestnut Street.

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Mental health break: Baracky The Movie

I'm in Philadelphia, scene of the Rocky, the 1976 film, where the small-time street fighter Rocky Balboa survives 15 rounds with the undefeated World heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. As they go to the polls in Pennsylvania in what seems like the 15th round of a bruising world title fight, everyone wants to know is whether Hillary has finally found Obama's glass jaw and is about to knock him out of the race. A split decision means big trouble for her, given the high expectations that she was going to win Pennsylvania by more than 10 percentage points.

21 April 2008

Chick's for Hillary

By Leonard Doyle

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Chick's Diner is a Scranton landmark and its full-on for Hillary. All chrome, red piping and bustling waitresses, Edward Hopper could have painted Nighthawks, his famous painting of customers sitting at the counter of an all night diner, here. This diner is always full by seven in the morning and it stays open 24 hours a day. It's the best listening post in town and on the eve of the primary all the talk in this greasy spoon is about Hillary's pending victory, at least in Scranton.

Lori, my platinum blonde waitress just cannot conceive of a president named Obama. "I just can't see it," she said, to a chorus of approval from the old timers at the counter. "And then when you realise his middle name is Hussein," she said, "No, I don't think so."

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Obama: "I’m not predicting a win...."

By Leonard Doyle

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Scranton, Pennsylvania is ground zero for Hillary as she tries to keep her presidential hopes alive. Her supporters were out in force this morning, packing into a Scottish Rite Masonic Hall that is now a ballroom to hear her final pep talk. Obama's supporters were out in force the night before.

A huge jump in the number of Democratic voter registrations across Pennsylvania bodes well for Obama as he continues to eat into Hillary's lead. Its an expectations game now and if he deny's her a double digit victory he will have robbed her of the knockout margin she desperately needs to justofy staying in the primary battle. Expect to hear a chorus of calls for her to pull out if she does not achieve a crushing victory.

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"I’m not predicting a win. I’m predicting it’s going to be close and that we are going to do a lot better than people expect," says Obama. Listen to the (audio).

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20 April 2008

Neck and Neck and expecting a Swift Boating

By Leonard Doyle

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The Pennsylvania race is incredibly tight with a poll released Sunday showing Clinton's leading Obama by  48 to 43 percentage points with eight percent still undecided. Could Obama pull it off against all the odds?

That's what his organisers secretly believe, although they are playing down expectations in the media.
Over a slice of pizza at Lancaster train station where the candidate had just given a speech on his train trip across the state, one of his top Pennsylvania operatives, who prefers to remain anonymous, was confident of victory or a worst a narrow defeat. He described how team Obama had been operating "below the radar" in Hillary's heartland of central Pennsylvania for over six weeks and had "registered the *!@*# out of the place."

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18 April 2008

Mental Health break - Al Gore gets in on the act

Obama, McCain and Clinton Compete for Al Gore's Endorsement

17 April 2008

Truth Lies and Videotape

The Jed Report which helped bring to light Hillary Clinton's "snipers in Tuzla" problem  has a new three-minute "trailer" that is already breaking records for the number of times it has been viewed. Consisting of old archival footage of Clinton backing the NAFTA trade agreement (now she's against it) and telling stretchers about Tuzla as well as Iraq and then complaining that Obama is "elitist." The most damaging stuff comes from Hillary's own mouth.

Fetch Me An Abacus

Picture_3 By David Usborne in Philadelphia

Sitting in the media room inside National Constitutional Center in the historic district of Philly waiting for tonight's debate between Hillary and Barack to begin. It's nearly seven weeks since they were last on stage together (and I was similarly waiting) in a much chillier Cleveland, Ohio. Best I can remember that turned out to 0-0 draw more or less. Hillary, of course, went on to win that state by 10 points. 

A few more numbers in no particular order of insignificance. Tonight's debate will be the 20th in 15 months of full-out campaigning between Democrats. There may or may not be one more in North Carolina on 27 April. Hillary says she will be there (NC votes on 6 May) while Barack has not said if he will play.

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