Blogs > Daily Local Dan

A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chelsea Visits the Chesco Campaign Headquarters

An organizer at the door told me there was a special section set aside for press. I walked to the back room, where chairs were set up, and looked around.

Couldn't find it.

Then I saw two chairs in the corner. A blue string was wrapped around them and taped to the wall behind. Hanging from the string was a piece of paper that said "press."

Two people were sitting in the chairs. They insisted they weren't in press seats.

"Then where's the press supposed to go?" I asked.

They pointed to the space behind the string.

"Seriously?" I said.

I know Cheslea never talks to press, but this was ridiculous. Danny DeVito wouldn't have fit in that tiny, tiny corral.

I asked a few organizers if I was really supposed to stand behind that string. They halfheartedly nodded. When I decided to ignore them and mingle with the crowd, no one stopped me.

Fifteen minutes later, someone with a blackberry announced that Chelsea was soon to arrive.

The crowd hushed. I picked out a nice spot in the middle of the room and pulled out my notebook.

Through the front window we saw a limo drive up. Chelsea stepped out, and the crowd oohed and aahed.

"Oh, she is so pretty!" several older women said.

Chelsea came in the door, walked across the front room, and stepped into the brick archway that set it off from the room where the crowd was. (Clinton's headquarters is in a historic rowhome).

More oohs and aahs.

I felt like I was at one of those picture taking sessions that precede the more important high school dances.

After briefly addressing the crowd, Chelsea made her rounds through the room.

I put my notebook into my jacket and assumed a non-reporter persona.

When Chelsea got to where I was standing, the guy next to me asked, with an excited quiver in his voice, if I would take a picture of him and the former first daughter. I complied.

Then Chelsea walked up to me.

I had a brief moment of panic.

All the other people had told her things like, "Your mother will make such a great president! I'm so glad she's running! I'm such a big supporter!"

But I'm not supporting any candidate, and I had no intention of lying to Chelsea Clinton. What could I possibly say?

I shook her hand, looked her in the eye, and said, "You're such a good daughter for doing this."

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

How the lowest qualified bidder will swell the Democrats' numbers

I'm thinking of doing a story on the guy who designed Pennsylvania's voter registration form. It's clearly the work of a "lowest qualified bidder," and it has all the attendant charms. For example, the "Municipality where you live" box is about an inch long. Even if you abbreviated, you'd have trouble fitting your municipality's name. W. Fallowfield Twshp? E. Brandywine Twshp? S. Coatesville Borough? Impossible.

Why do I bring this up?

Because a whole bunch of Chesco Republicans and Independents have just switched to Democrat to vote in the upcoming Barack/Hillary primary. I think those poorly-designed forms are going to keep some Rs and Is from switching back.

Sure, the die-hard, vote-in-every-primary-even-though-they're-never-contested Republicans will return to their party. But the people who only vote in presidential elections? I doubt they're thinking, "Ah! As soon as this primary's over, I better make sure to fill out another one of those dreadful forms."

The Barack/Hillary battle could hurt the national Democratic Party, but it could also permanently increase the local party's numbers. Next to Dinniman's state senate victory, Super Indecisive Tuesday might turn out to be the best thing that's happened to the Chesco Democrats.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Where oh where is the Clinton Campaign?

Just got over a case of bloggers flu. I'm feeling much better now. Expect daily posts.

Two hours ago, I left the grand opening party at Barack Obama's Chester County Headquarters.

Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford delivered the rev-em-up speech, and afterwards, he took a few minutes to talk to me.

I asked him why, even though he's been involved in Democratic Politics for so long, he's supporting the party outsider.

"[Obama's] the one people are ready to be moved by," he said.

That struck me. Earlier, Jennifer Dean, who works for a publishing company in Phoenixville, said nearly the same thing.

"When I hear Obama speak, I want to live in his America," she told me.

Everyone else I spoke with had their own version of how the Illinois Senator changed their outlook. There was so much enthusiasm from so many people, a surprising number of whom said they'd never been involved in -- or thought much about -- politics before. I started to wonder if Clinton could keep her Pennsylvania lead.

Speaking of which, where is the Clinton Campaign?

Hillary hasn't opened a Chester County office. And, unlike the Obama Campaign, which has been sending people door-to-door since the beginning of the month, her campaign has just started it's door-to-door efforts. Phone banking has been her campaign's main form of outreach in Pennsylvania so far, according to campaign director Mark Nevins.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of reaction the Clinton Campaign generates once it gets here.

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