Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bill Clinton's talk, voter's reaction, writer's report lay open the raw underbelly of the rural vote

(Photo from Indiana by Scott Olson, Getty Images)
Despite several items about Bill Clinton and rural voters, we couldn't resist one more before the polls close today, after reading Toby Harnden's story for The Telegraph, a British newspaper, from Zebulon, N.C., population 4,329. (It sounds more rural than it is; it's in Wake County with Raleigh, the capital.)

"In a feat of endurance notable even for the most relentless campaigner in American politics, the former president chalked up an astonishing nine events in North Carolina, beginning at 7:30 a.m. and finishing at close to midnight," Harden begins, later quoting Doug Hattaway, who was a spokesman in the White House and now for the campaign: "The rural votes have provided a real margin for her and he’s really turning people out for her by going the extra mile."

Clinton told the crowd in Zebulon, "They have declared Hillary dead more times than a cat’s got lives. But people like you in places like this brought her back in New Hampshire, they brought her back on Super Tuesday." But the quotes that caught our attention came from 74-year-old real estate broker Marion Lipscomb, who just seems to us like a person of influence in Zebulon.

He said of Clinton, “He’s one hell of a guy. He likes women and so do I. He tells the truth about as much as I do.” He said of Barack Obama, “He’s a Muslim. The president of Iran’s a Muslim too and he wants to kill all the Jews. I’m not sure what this one here wants to do but if he’s elected there’ll be turmoil in this country.” (Read more)

We suspect that many American reporters have gleaned such inflammatory quotes but have not used them because they would feel obliged to add that Obama is a practicing Christian, as Mark Barabak of the Los Angeles Times noted after a similar quote today. But we tend to think that no matter where journalists hail from, they should not hide the raw underbelly of public opinion.

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