Tonight, Hillary or Obama? Obama or Hillary? They've been campaigning day and night these last six weeks and tomorrow Pennsylvania voters will answer the question that has sent the Democratic candidates to countless rallies, college campuses, diners, bars and bowling allies. Obama or Hillary? Hillary or Obama?
We'll have live reports from our reporters in the field who are covering the candidates' last minute pushes to win over any remaining undecided voters as well as a terrific political panel and all the latest polling numbers.
Voters have their say tomorrow but we want to hear from you tonight. We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.
And be sure to check out our live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features a behind the scenes look at the set. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA
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Jason R. Rae
Democratic superdelegate and Obama supporter
I firmly believe that at this point in the Democratic primary nomination there is no such thing as an undecided superdelegate. Instead, what we have are undeclared superdelegates.
These remaining 300 or so people all very likely have a candidate they personally prefer, but are just waiting for the right moment to make it public. One of the key things they are waiting for is the result of tomorrow's Pennsylvania primary. So what are potential Obama and potential Clinton superdelegates looking for tomorrow?
Those who are decided for Senator Clinton but have not yet announced, are looking for a large win to show that she has the potential to remain an active player in this race. They want to see a decisive victory of at least 10 points.
The same thing goes for those decided for Senator Obama but not yet pledging support. Pennsylvania has always been an uphill battle for Senator Obama. So while a loss would be disappointing, a narrow loss would be seen as a positive in a state where Clinton had been heavily favored. It would indicate his recent problems have not really hurt Senator Obama's electability and that he still remains a viable player in big swing states.
Everything hinges on tomorrow. I have a feeling that after the results, we will see a surge of superdelegates announcing their support for one of the two candidates, bringing one of the two candidates much closer to receiving the 2,025 votes needed to win the nomination.
I spent the weekend in Philadelphia as a tourist. Yet, as I visited the city’s great sights, with no regret I often thought of work and tomorrow’s Pennsylvania primary. Here’s why: The city that’s the birthplace of our nation is buzzing with enthusiasm for the Clinton-Obama showdown. And that was a great sight, too.
Everywhere I went, supporters of both senators were out in force. On Saturday, in front of Philadelphia’s City Hall, Hillary Clinton supporters gathered with signs that read “Honk for Hillary.” On the city’s famed South Street, near the crowd on line outside Jim’s Steaks, I saw Barack Obama supporters selling their candidate to young voters. And everywhere in between I saw people wearing Clinton or Obama pins, stickers & T-shirts.
-CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
The rifle has always been a soldier's best friend, but these days it was never more true for the thousands of US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who may round a corner and suddenly find themselves in a firefight. That brings us to news over the weekend about the M4 carbine, the workhorse of military rifles. The military and Congress are beginning to look at alternatives.
But guess what? The US Special Operations Command is already on the case.
SOCOM is home to the nations’ most covert troops, the commandos who hunt Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists around the world from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq. SOCOM is about to put a new assault rifle in the hands of its operatives that the military says is more reliable than the M4. And while most troops have never even seen the new rifle, I got to fire it...
Before we get into what that was like, a couple highlights: SOCOM says the new gun won’t jam in the desert dust, is more reliable overall, and most importantly has interchangeable components. For example you can put a shorter barrel on the front if you are about to kick down a door, enter a building and go around tight corners. And with greater accuracy than older rifles, a soldier can stand further away from the enemy and stay out of range.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/04/21/unmarried.voters/art.lawyer.jpg caption="Pennsylvania attorney Maria Wing, 28, says it's becoming increasingly difficult to make it on one income."]
Program note: See Randi's report on the influence of unmarried women on the election on AC360° tonight at 10pm ET.
If only the candidates had the luxury of time.. to meet with unmarried women in Pennsylvania and hear their plea.
I had the chance to do that last week and it was such an eye-opener.
First of all, you should know, a quarter of all eligible voters in Pennsylvania are unmarried women. One in four voters!
Unmarried women are the ultimate economy voter. Their average income is about $30,000 a year. Twenty percent of them are single moms and they tend to vote Democratic, which makes them a virtual “gold mine” for Democratic candidates. When I suggested to the women I interviewed that they are a gold mine, they chuckled.
They certainly don’t feel like one. They are struggling and they’re not sure if the candidates are noticing.
One of the women, Maria Wing, a lawyer in Philadelphia, told me about one third of her income goes to student loans and another third to house payments. She says, “after Uncle Sam gets paid, and Fannie Mae gets paid, and housing expenses get paid, mama only has a couple hundred dollars to go out. I’m still driving my beat up Sentra from law school.”
I like to think I am well-informed, but at least once a day, I am reminded I have so much to learn. I know there is terrible poverty and hunger in this world; I know desperate parents sometimes make decisions that seem unthinkable and cruel to an outsider, but to them these choices feel like the only solution. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to have to make those decisions – to sell your children or offer them up as slaves because this seems like the only way to ensure those children will eat. I know how fortunate I am to have a home and to have plenty to eat. Yet, it still boggles the mind when I hear about people who would knowingly send their children into hell.
Case in point, the family of a 9-year-old boy sent to a religious school, where he was beaten, nearly starved and forced to beg for hours every day. Somehow, this brave little boy had the courage to escape from the school twice, and with help from an aid organization, made his way home.
From the moment I walked into the Pennsylvania home shared by Arnie Freedman and his companion of 12 years, Shelly Winston, I knew we were going to get some strong opinions.
This couple represents your typical “older” Pennsylvania voter. The voter that tends to favor Hillary Clinton but that Barack Obama is trying to win over. From the sounds of it, he’s going to have a tough go of it in this household.
Arnie is 62. Shelly is 61. They aren’t retiring anytime soon but they do worry about retiring comfortably. Some background: they were in high school when John F. Kennedy was in the White House. Arnie was in the Air Force when Obama was in diapers, so that should help you understand where he’s coming from.
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Roland S. Martin
360° Contributor and Radio Host
Associations, associations, associations.
Words, words, words.
I keep writing about them because they are all quite interesting.
Sen. Barack Obama¹s longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has been at the center of a lot of criticism, including his relationship with Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan.
As I've written before, folks should be careful to not use one person's praise against their opponent because you might have to do the same to one of your supporters.
In the ABC debate, Sen. Hillary Clinton again brought up Rev. Wright's association with Farrakhan. Trust me, it wasn't positive. And in the previous debate with Obama on MSNBC, she called on him to repudiate and denounce Farrakhan¹s unsolicited praise of the junior senator from Illinois.
A lot of folks have commented on the issue, but one person who has been real quiet has been Gov. Ed Rendell.
Maybe that's because as mayor of Philadelphia, Rendell, who is Jewish, had some really wonderful things to say about Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
How are you? Before your day gets turned upside-down with the Monday work-load, let's tackle tonight's ‘Beat 360°.’
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Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?
Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day: Parents learn Yoga with their babies in Xiamen, China last year... (I think someone might want to help them out here!)
Here's one to get you started
The latest yoga move: ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water”
Have fun with it.
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– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer