Tampa Democrats come out to support Obama

01/28/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Although Barack Obama has not made any campaign appearances in Florida since his pledge with the other Democratic candidate not to appear in the Sunshine state, several local Tampa politicians came out today to show their support for his candidacy.

About 35 Obama supporters appeared in Tampa’s Lykes Park for a news conference this morning, a day before Floridians go to the polls.

On the same day that the liberal lion in the U.S. Senate, Edward Kennedy, endorsed Obama, Tampa Democratic state Rep. Betty Reed said his candidacy reminded her of JFK's campaign 28 years ago.

In a Quinnipiac poll released early Monday, Hillary Clinton continues to maintain a substantial double-digit lead over Barack Obama in Florida. Although no delegates will be awarded to the primary winner, Clinton said late last week that she will recognize the delegates at the Democratic convention later this year if she is the winner. Obama has not made a similar declaration.

Some analysts have surmised that Obama wants to downplay the results, which makes it somewhat ackward for his local supporters such as Patrick Cannon.

The Tampa Bay O-Train has worked hard for Obama, and organizers say they will work the phones and try to get out the vote on Tuesday. Although their expectations remain sky high as far as Obama winning the nomination, expectations are not so high for Tuesday’s non-binding vote.

Hillary Clinton appeared at three fundraising events in Florida on Sunday, including one in Sarasota. At a news conference, she said that she wanted the voters in Florida to know that she hears and cares deeply about their problems. She also promised to return Tuesday night after the votes are counted, guaranteeing that the results will garner national attention, and for Clinton, a hopeful turn of the tide in the battle for momentum in this tight race.

Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern said part of the call for change that is at the heart of Obama’s message is just not from the Republican rule of the past seven years.

Mulhern said she was somewhat depressed at the way that former President Bill Clinton interjected himself in the contest in South Carolina. When asked by a reporter on Saturday if it was two against one with his involvement in his wife’s campaign in South Carolina, Clinton seemingly tried to dismiss Obama’s success, saying that that another black democrat, Jesse Jackson, had previously won there.

Also speaking out in support of Barack Obama was Tampa City Council Chairwoman Gwen Miller and her longtime colleague on the Council, Linda Saul-Sena.

Commissioner Kevin White also Joined the four Tampa female politicians in showing support for Obama.

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