A few months ago, Hillary Clinton was a national front-runner. She and her campaign staff thought they'd clinch the nomination on Super Tuesday. Well, the delegates are still being counted but it definitely looks like the race will go on. The supporters of Obama here were a little sad that their candidate was not ahead, but his performance on stage once again revived the crowd. And he offered a reminder that he is now on an equal footing with the "natural winner", Hillary Clinton. Obama's closest advisor, David Axelrod, was definitely smiling on Super Tuesday night as his candidate delivered another impressive speech. Is the momentum with the Obama campaign?
Republicans fall in line”
We’ll see if that comes true tonight, on Super Tuesday. Meanwhile, our fantastic France 24 team in New York has dabbled in the risky business of political forecasting. Each of our team members bet 10 dollars on the names of the two candidates they think will make it through to the ultimate stand-off in November - and on the name of the next US President…with the following results:
-9 of us bet on McCain versus Clinton
*with final victory going to Clinton, say five of us
*and final victory going to McCain, say the remaining four.
A few days before Super Tuesday, we left Manhattan in a rented Pontiac to head for Hillary's home ground - Albany, which, it turns out, is the real capital of New York. After five hours on the road in snow and hail (it's two and a half hours in normal weather), and 25 car crashes because of the ice, we finally arrived in the state capital with its imposing architecture....
Watch Alexandra's report by clicking the link in the right column.
White House 2008 is set to be America's first BILLION dollar election and in a real case of "show me the money" we ventured onto the trading floor in Wall Street this morning, coming face to face with the men who don't blink at peeling off a million or two from their end of year bonuses to swell the campaign coffers of their favourite candidate. This is wealth in the raw, but I was more moved by the giving spirit in Harlem where supporters were flooding into Barack Obama's campaign office, eager to offer five or ten dollars to the cause. Kids are raiding their piggy banks for him, grandmothers are offering their pensions ... in the race to win a country every little helps.
We were interviewing a mother, Paula Rogovin, whose son is a Marine who just returned from Iraq. Paula brought us to a meeting of local representatives of various anti-war groups... As the clock ticked and game time approached, we expected them to end the meeting and head to their respective homes to watch the game. 5PM, 5:30PM... And they were still sitting around the oak table, organising the weekly peace vigils across the state, scheduling "movie nights" to get people talking about the war... And above all, planning activities for the 5-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, coming up in March. When we asked the activists if they were going to watch the Superbowl, they said, "We have other priorities.
Monday, Feb 4: Atlanta, Georgia
By Guillaume Meyer, special correspondent in Atlanta
Is the Christian right deprived of a candidate this year? The evangelicals were king makers in the election of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, but this year they're almost absent from the campaign. As the race has narrowed down, evangelicals are faced with a dilemma. None of the Republican candidates suits them. I met a family, near Atlanta, Georgia. Paul and Melody Allen are evangelical "homeschoolers", they teach their four children themselves, at home, to make sure they are being taught the right values and the "truth", that God created the Earth and mankind. To them, evolution is just a theory. They think McCain has proved too liberal in the past, on immigration and abortion. The Allens also worry that because he is a Mormon, Mitt Romney cannot "hear from God", and they think it's crucial that their leader hears from God. (Mormons are not Christians according to evangelicals). Mike Huckabee, a very conservative pastor, seems more suited. But, he has a major flaw: he lacks the experience, especially on the international stage.
Sunday, Feb. 3: Super Bowl Night
By Catherine Galloway, special correspondent in New York
Life is not easy for a political reporter in New York tonight - Super Tuesday has been super-sized into oblivion by the Super Bowl, and even the White House hopefuls are glued to the big game like everyone else. Fans could barely tear their eyes from the screen to answer our questions in the first half so I'm really no further forward on the rules regarding the big men in tights. But in politics and in football there are underdogs and favourites, tactics that backfire or set the crowds alight, team colours and flashes of individual brilliance. Here in New York they've got the Giants and their senator to cheer on ... so, let's play ball!
Saturday, Feb. 2: 7.30 pm (USA - ET)
By Léa Salamé, special correspondent in New York
Arrived in New York. The "Standing City," as the French writer Céline put it in his novel, Journey to the End of the Night, the city moving now to the rhythm of the Super Bowl and Super Tuesday.
There aren’t posters everywhere like there were in New Hampshire, but New Yorkers aren’t hesitating to wear the name of their chosen candidate on their coat sleeve, on pins and stickers.
I asked the customs agent at the airport who he was voting for. His response was uncertain. "I'm torn between Obama and McCain. I like them both."
How is it possible to be torn between two men with political platforms so totally opposed to each other? It's the personality of one of the two men that must convince him. Personality is going to weigh heavily in this election, and the Obama effect is a result of that.
Personality, though, is the weak point for Hillary, who has always had trouble when it came to “the likability factor.” Of the two Democrats, Americans are choosing between the woman who reassures them and the man who makes them dream.