After five stops in Kentucky, Clinton moved on yesterday to even more rural West Virginia, where Mike Memoli of NBC News and National Journal "reports that hours after Bill Clinton said surrogates should not resign simply for attacking the opposing campaign, a local official who has endorsed Hillary Clinton singled out the Jeremiah Wright controversy during his introduction of the former president," write Chuck Todd and Domenico Montanaro for NBC's First Read blog:
“I am not Jeremiah Wright, but I am an ordained minister and a pastor,” said Damron Bradshaw, mayor of the small town of Chesapeake. “What I have to say instead of what he said is God bless America!”After taking the stage moments later, Clinton simply thanked Bradshaw for his introduction without noting the comment. Instead, the former president focused his remarks on issues of particular interest to seniors. “West Virginia has one of the older populations in America, but the fastest growing group of Americans are people over 65,” he said at Chesapeake’s senior center. “We know that presents a significant challenge for us.”Cheasapeake, a few miles up the Kanawha River from Charleston, is 10 percent African American. In Raleigh, N.C., "Obama said he hoped people would not be distracted from the important issues by a few 'stupid' comments made by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright," reports Rob Christensen of the News & Observer. Obama said, "This is somebody that was preaching three sermons -- at least -- a week for 30 years, and it got boiled down to a half-minute sound clip and just played over and over and over again, partly because it spoke to some of the racial divisions we have in this country." (Read more)
Todd and Montanaro make special note of North Carolina (which, we remind you again, has more rural people than any other state): "With her foray into NC and Bill’s all-out campaigning in a bunch of other post-PA states, all signs are pointing to this going on at least through the last contests in June. But keep a particular eye on Clinton in Carolina. This is becoming more and more of a must-win state; A combination of a 15-20 point win in Pennsylvania and an upset in the Tar Heel state would shake up this race in the same way Obama's 11-contest win streak in February did."
UPDATE, March 29: In Parkersburg, W.Va., Clinton said of Obama, "He gives a great speech, he's generated enormous support among young people, he's had by and large the sort of the culturally upscale part of the party and the media with him, he's raised an unprecedented amount of money, and she's still around, for some reason. Why? Why? Because of people who know they need a president as opposed to the feeling of change, the change they can rely on, are supporting her for president." For a report by Keri Brown of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, click here.