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Hillary at gas station, Obama goes bowling

The two Democratic presidential candidates are doing everything they can to appeal Pennsylvania's diverse mix of urban professionals, industrial workers and farmers.

world Updated: Apr 06, 2008 01:46 IST
DPA

Barack Obama went bowling and fed a calf from a giant bottle. Hillary Clinton met with voters at a gas station and invoked the iconic scene from the film Rocky, where the title boxer runs up the Philadelphia art museum stairs.

In Pennsylvania, the two Democratic presidential candidates are doing everything they can — including a typical rush of townhall forums and rallies —to appeal to the eastern state’s diverse mix of urban professionals, blue collar industrial workers and farmers.

On April 22, Clinton and Obama face off for the largest remaining group of delegates before August’s nominating convention. Pennsylvania and seven other states have yet to vote.

This eastern state of 12.4 million people is basking in the unaccustomed national media spotlight that the protracted campaign has thrown on them.

Among the rolling hills dotted with farms in this south-central part of thes tate, former president Bill Clinton drew 3,200 people to a university gymnasium in Carlisle, where a mix of students and working class voters cheered and waved banners.

“Bill for first man,” said one. “I voted for Bill, now I’m voting for Hillary,” said another.

Dan Crotty, 57, a retired transit worker from New York who recently moved to the state because of cheaper housing was there with wife, Pat. The couple praised the Clintons for caring about average citizens.

“She helped our union out a lot,” he said. “She used to come to the garage. She was the only (politician) who did that.”

Clinton is counting on that appeal to working class voters, which helped her win in neighbouring Ohio. She needs a big win in Pennsylvania to overcome Obama’s lead in the delegate count. Obama leads by 140 and needs 2,024 for the nomination. In Pennsylvania, 188 delegates are at stake.

For his part, Obama must scramble to show his clout in a large industrial state like California, Texas and others that have been dominated by Clinton. He has far outspent Clinton in television advertising, reducing her once-double-digit advantage in the polls.

“I think if it’s going to make a difference, she’s going to have to win by a substantial margin,” Steven Peterson, a professor at Pennsylvania State University’s Harrisburg campus, said in an interview.