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NORTH CAROLINA (5/6 PRIMARY)

Raleigh Up The Troops

Bill Clinton will return to NC on 4/23, and Hillary Clinton will follow 5 days later as she "continues her bid" for the Dem nod. B. Clinton will attend Solutions for America events in Hillsborough, Burlington, Asheboro, Lexington and Statesville. All of the events are free and open to the public. The NC for Hillary Camp also said that Clinton would be in CHarlotte on 4/28 for a Club 44 rally. Clinton and Barack Obama will each have reps in NC this week, including in some areas of the Cape Fear region. Rep. John Coyners, Jr. (D-MI) will be campaigning for Obama today in Fayetteville. In Raleigh today, actress Alfre Woodard is scheduled to be at the Obama for America Raleigh HQ "to participate in a phone bank with Obama volunteers." Actor Sean Astin begin a 3-day tour of NC today on behalf of Clinton (Fayetteville Observer, 4/21).

Total Eclipse Of The Noon

The opening curtain of early voting in Charlotte "drew six times the turnout" of '04. The day even featured a mid-afternoon traffic jam around the Central Piedmont Community College polling site. Union County election officials had expected about 50 voters to come to its Monroe office to vote by day's end. They "eclipsed" that by noon. In all, more than 150 turned out. Cabarrus County drew 173. Clinton mgr. Terry McAuliffe got on a plane in OR to fly to Charlotte. He was scheduled to make five other stops on 4/17, including ones in Concord and Salisbury. McAuliffe: "This is one of the most important elections we'll ever face. We've got two wars going on and a battered economy. We need to move this country in a new direction." (Perlmutt, Charlotte Observer, 4/18).

Turning Off Tobacco Road

Charlotte Observer's Johnson writes: "When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama visit NC, they don't have to trudge through a tobacco warehouse or talk about guns." The camps "are not southern-fried" when they get to NC, they're nationalized. That approach "works now because the state's economy and voters have both changed." Banks, high tech, pharmaceutical and other information-centric industries "have blossomed, along with the state's population, particularly in major cities." The voting population looks different now than it did 10 or 20 years ago. Voters are more GOP but more moderate. Dem strategist Gary Pearce: "The state has changed: younger, more progressive, higher educated, more affluent, particularly in the cities. We've become like the rest of the country" (4/20).

Obama Needs A Larry The Cable Guy Endorsement

Blue-collar voters "are critical in presidential politics, and may be even more important" in NC, which has a higher % of blue-collar workers than PA. According to the Almanac of American Politics, blue-collar workers make up 29.7% of the population in NC. In PA, blue-collar workers are 25.2% of the population. Wake Forest prof. John Dinan said he sees little difference between the two candidates on issues important to blue-collar voters. Both support unions and have proposed reforms to trade deals such as NAFTA. Dem consultant Gary Pearce said some white blue-collar voters just won't vote for Obama because he's black. And there "has always been a cultural tension between blue-collar voters and the liberal intellectual wing" of the Dem Party. Many blue collar workers "feel disconnected" from Obama and "perceive him to be among the so-called Starbucks crowd." (Hall, Winston-Salem Journal, 4/21).

This article appears in the April 21, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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