WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Despite what appears to be a growing momentum for Sen. Barack Obama, who could become the nation's first Black president, Sen. Hillary Clinton told the Black Press of America this week that she will stand on her civil rights record as she faces what is expected to be the largest Black voter turnout in recent history for the South Carolina primary on Jan. 26 and Super Tuesday, Feb. 5. WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Despite what appears to be a growing momentum for Sen. Barack Obama, who could become the nation's first Black president, Sen. Hillary Clinton told the Black Press of America this week that she will stand on her civil rights record as she faces what is expected to be the largest Black voter turnout in recent history for the South Carolina primary on Jan. 26 and Super Tuesday, Feb. 5.
"I do not see myself as being disadvantaged. I have a very long record of working with and producing results for African-Americans, for poor people, for hard-working people, for kids. And I'll put that record up against anyone. And if you want to know what kind of changes any of us will make, look at what we've already done. That's the best predictor of what we will do in the future," said Clinton in a telephone interview with the NNPA News Service the day after she lost Iowa's Democratic Primary to Obama and former Sen. John Edwards. "I'm running to be the president of all America, and especially to those who have been invisible in many of the decisions that have been made over the last seven years. So I will be talking about the issues that matter to all families, but particularly to African-American families."
Obama was nursing a sore throat this week, having endured marathon speeches before packed crowds after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. They chanted, "Obama! Obama!"
In Iowa, he answered the crowd with a resounding message of hope reminiscent of those in the 1960s:
"They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. But on this January night at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do . . . You have done what America can do in this new year, 2008."
He continued in an obvious embrace of his Black heritage: "Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young women and young men to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause. Hope. Hope is what led me here today – with a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas – and a story that could only happen in the United States of America."
As Obama prepared to take that message into South Carolina for its Jan. 26 Democratic Primary, in which polls show him with a double-digit lead over his opponents, and then into the twenty-two states where large Black turnouts are expected at the polls on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, Clinton says she will fight back with issues.
"I have a long history of fighting to expand civil rights and improving our public schools and giving every child a chance to go to college. I'm going to crack down on predatory lenders and put homeownership back in reach for middle income and low income Americans. I'm finally going to be able to deliver on health care because I think the plan I have is not only totally universal to cover everybody, but it's politically doable. And we'll be doing more to address the high rates in which African-Americans suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes. I will continue the work I've done to expand access to capital and technical assistance for minority entrepreneurs and small business owners. And I have paid particular attention to the economic vitality of both our inner cities, and our rural areas."
But in his campaign speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, Obama not only successfully distinguished himself as a candidate who wants to unify Democrats and Republicans, but has clarified that he too is running on issues – not rac