PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR BARAK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON AND STATE SENATOR ROBERT MELLOW.
Like an exciting sudden death football game, Northeastern Pennsylvania is seeing the two great Democratic candidates of the '08 race. After a blast from the Clinton campaign, the Obama organization stepped up with the arrival of Senator Obama tonight. Over the weekend, Obama headquarters opened in Wilkes Barre. Today, the Illinois Senator touched down at the Wilkes Barre Srranton Airport and did a bit of campaigning himself. His first stop was Whistles where he participated in a MTV special featuring veterans. Obama is participating in an MTV taping with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, which is set to air at 6 p.m. March 20 on the music network. Senator Clinton will also tape a MTV program to discuss the fifth anniversary of the war and encourage young MTV viewers to vote in the upcoming election.
Obama then went to the Radison where he was introduced by State Senator Robert Mellow. Obama spoke to the Society of Irish Women, a group that has been having wildly successful meetings in place of the annual St. Patrick's Day dinner that is dominated by males. To be sure there were Clinton supporters at the dinner and a few more men than usual but Obama gave a speech that was part standard stump and part homage to the holiday and the way the city of Scranton celebrates it. Earlier Obama issued a statement on the economy. It is no accident that the Obama camp has saved its strongest rhetoric against the President and his financial policies in a state and region where economic concerns have always been a key talking point:
"History will not judge President Bush kindly for his failure to act in a way that could’ve prevented or alleviated this economic crisis. There have been few Administrations so out of touch with the concerns and the struggles of working Americans and so beholden to the lobbyists and special interests who blocked any kind of regulatory oversight of the financial sector. Whether it was subprime lending, credit cards, or bankruptcy laws, Washington has allowed these special interests to prevent sensible policy that could have prevented the most serious effects of the current predicament. "Nowhere has the failure been more pronounced than the President’s refusal to address the plight of homeowners and Main Street businesses that lie at the heart of the turmoil right now. After months of inaction and half-measures, the President traveled to New York last week to say that there is a danger in doing too much and implied that doing nothing would be preferable. His principle policy to address the financial crunch that now threatens millions of Americans with foreclosure and thousands of business with bankruptcy is to extend his tax cuts for the wealthiest few. It’s a policy so divorced from the reality facing the American people and the American economy that it would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening. "
Obama's stop here is a clear signal that he will be competitive in the state and in the important Northeast region. And it is interesting that the local politicos are split between the two. Senator Mellow and Commissioners O'Brien and Washo are backing Obama while Evie McNulty, Recorder of Deeds, Congressman Kanjorski and Scranton Mayor Doherty are supporting Senator Clinton. Senator Casey, who has to work with both of them and has had campaign aid from both Clinton and Obama has stayed neutral so far.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
Former President Bill Clinton visits Wilkes Barre Wednesday At Coughlin High School to stump for his wife. The event starts at 3:45PM.
DAVE FROM GREENFIELD
Years ago when the late Terry McNulty had the morning drive show on WARM, one of his frequent callers was "Dave from Greenfield". I thought Dave had passed on but was pleased to hear him railing on WYOU TV today about the toll roads controversy. Old radio talk show callers never fade away, they just find a new venue.