April 21, 2008
Angel Fire, N.M.
OBAMA AND CLINTON ON THE JOB
ANGEL FIRE, N.M., April 21, 2008 -- From half a nation away I gaze at Pennsylvania on the eve of its primary, and nod with appreciation at the unreported grassroots campaigns of both Senators Clinton and Obama.
For 40 days and 40 nights, with the exception of a rare trip to Washington and some stump speeches in Indiana and a few other states, both Democratic presidential hopefuls have lived up to the finest shoe-leather traditions of their party. They took a page out of each of two Florida campaign books.
Barack Obama followed the tradition set by the late Sen. Lawton Chiles and walked the cities and hamlets of Pennsylvania for the past six weeks. Instead of gravitating to big fundraisers, media events, and 'taking head" tv interviews, Obama walked from Center City Philly to Dingman's Ferry. From Scranton to Squirrel Hill, and from Blue Balls to Johnstown. All the while he shook hands, sipped coffee at dining room tables, and left voters to spread the word quietly and efficiently about his program for America.
Hillary Clinton followed the "work day" tradition of Sen. Bob Graham, which he kept up his entire public life and into retirement. One day Sen. Clinton kneaded pastry dough at a school cafeteria in Wilkes-Barre. Another day she planted seedlings along the Delaware Water Gap. For several evenings Mrs. Clinton worked with brake construction crews at the GE locomotive plant in Erie. On yet another series of long days she worked with black and Hispanic custodial crews on the graveyard shift at Duquesne University. Mingling with the people, she never sought publicity, but gaied a wealth of information on the true political needs of the common man and woman.
The screeching music of a loud infomercial suddenly blasted from the tv. As my wife rolled over and accidentally slugged me in the eyeball the 5 a.m. theme music from an old episode of JAG started to rouse me.
By then I had completely awaken from my dreams.