Senator meets voters in Hampton
By Michael McCord
Hampton Union, January 8, 2008
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON — Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama wasn't in Hampton on Sunday evening — but he was on the mind of his top rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, during a campaign appearance at Winnacunnet High School.
Clinton spoke to and took questions from an overflow audience of around 1,500 enthusiastic supporters and undecided voters who were located in two halls. She claims her 35-year record proves she is the real creator of political change when compared to Obama and former Sen. John Edwards.
The final candidates debate on Saturday in Manchester, Clinton said, "was a defining moment of the election — it showed the difference between talk and action."
Though unnamed, she took Obama to task for hiring a former lobbyist to a campaign position, despite his campaign's calls to stop the revolving door between lobbying and government service. She also criticized Obama for voting for $300 billion in funding for the troops in Iraq despite opposing the war before it started — and she accused Edwards of claiming legislative accomplishments that never happened.
"It's important to have dreams," Clinton said in reference to Obama's campaign themes of hope and change. "Wishing doesn't make it so."
Clinton has stepped up her rhetoric, criticizing Obama since his victory in the Iowa caucuses on Thursday. As the campaigns have turned all their focus on today's New Hampshire presidential primary, almost all polls released in the past three days have shown a tight race between Obama and Clinton.
Clinton started on Sunday in Manchester by canvassing with supporters and knocking on residential doors before going to a large campaign event in Nashua that drew, Clinton said, around 3,700.
Lori Martone of Exeter attended a large Obama event in Exeter earlier in the day before coming to see Clinton. Martone, who owns an advertising and marketing company in Hampton, is an undecided voter leaning toward Clinton. She is impressed by Obama's ability "to talk the talk," but fears he would take too long as president getting his administration in gear.
Martone believes Clinton would have no such problem because she is so well connected in Washington, D.C.
"With her experience, she can walk in and immediately start doing the job," she said.
Martone also applauded the possibility that a Clinton win in the general election would give the country a "two-for-one" bonus — her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as a prominent adviser.
"I thought he was a great president," Martone said.
In answering a question from an audience about the changes she would make as president from day one, Clinton said she would appoint Republicans in her administration and the cabinet to set a new tone in Washington.
"I'm all about getting things done," she said.