Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet: Clinton allies try to block Obama-friendly precinct voting in strip hotels.


LAS VEGAS, NV.—White House hopeful Barack Obama suggested Sunday that allies of Hillary Clinton were behind a federal lawsuit aimed at closing down voting sites in Obama-friendly casinos on this city’s famous strip.

In a novel deal worked out in advance with the Nevada Democratic party, nine hotels—whose workers are represented by the Culinary Workers local 226—will serve as “at-large” precincts for strip employees who can’t get home for the caucus this Saturday.

Once Obama got the backing of the Culinary Workers last week, a lawsuit was filed late Friday by the Nevada State Education Association whose leaders are sympathetic to Clinton asking to shut down the at-large precincts.

The move has backfire potential because it is likely to energize Obama's troops.

“You know you notice that the rules were OK as long as you did what they wanted you to do, and as soon as you decided 'I'm going to support the outsider, I'm gonna support the new guy. I'm gonna support the guy who's standing with the working people instead of the big shots,' all of a sudden they decide they want to change the rules!
"Now, I didn't make the rules? Did you make the rules..You didn't make the rules. They all agreed to how this was going to work, so the notion now that six days before the caucus that they are gonna to try to disenfranchise the hard workin' folks on the strip, culinary workers, but also folks who are workin' at the McDonald's on the strip.

"Folks who, you know, may not be a member of the union, although they need to be But You know, the construction worker around here – you know there are a lot of people who want access to the caucus and what we have to do is to remind everybody that you don't win an election and you don't serve democracy by trying to keep people out. You're supposed to try to bring them in and encourage everybody to get involved!

Asked about the lawsuit Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Clinton said, “The courts and the state party will have to work it out.”

“The caucus idea is for neighbors to get together to argue and talk about their choices,” she said. “The problem is that if you have a limited period of time, as I pointed out long before anything happened in Nevada, you’re going to essentially leave people out who can’t be there during those one to two-hour periods of time.”


Hillary's failure to discourage the law suit going forward clearly indicates she supports it whether she was behind it or not. Considering several months ago the decision had been made without objection from anyone filing a lawsuit two days after the Culinary Workers endorsed Obama begs questioning why after the endorsement. If they were that concerned why wait until the late minute?

Furthermore Hillary Clinton's remarks on Meet The Press, “The problem is that if you have a limited period of time, as I pointed out long before anything happened in Nevada, you’re going to essentially leave people out who can’t be there during those one to two-hour periods of time” give the impression Hillary wants pay back for something Obama had nothing to do with. Worse punishing the voters will not win any points either. It makes her look petty. Maybe Iam misreading the situation, but that is my initial perception.

Moreover the implications are troubling because this sidelines any movement to end voter disenfranchisement. Democrats pulling straight from the republican handbook are like the pot calling the kettle black. While the republicans have been mainly associated with depriving voters their right to vote, the democrats just lost the right to criticize or complain.

Furthermore just because a union endorses a candidate the members are not forced to vote for that contender. Isn't that what the caucuses are all about?

In the process Hillary revealed her true self. If Hillary instead had tried to discourage the Teacher's Union from filing a lawsuit she would have been seen as a champion for voters. She had the opportunity to stand above the fray, but she blew it. IMHO.

The caucus was scheduled for a Saturday to make it easier for most people to participate. The obvious exception was those working on the Strip, who are at their busiest on Saturday and could not make it to their home precincts. This compromise was worked out 10 MONTHS AGO with the approval of representatives of all campaigns -- including some of the people whose names are on this 11th hour lawsuit (filed only after the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Obama last Wednesday). ABC News has identified the filers as Clinton "allies." Clinton could get them to call off the suit if she bothered to try. But working through "surrogates" has become the recurring M.O. for her campaign.

I can't decide which is worse: Clinton's blatent attempt to disenfranchise 1000s of voters or her hiding behind the skirts of the local Teacher's Union leaders to do it!

First of all, I think we need to capitalize "Strip" or people will think strip club workers are being disenfranchised. :)

That said, we all know those Republicans are known for their sick voter caging and disenfranchisement tactics. But to see even Democrats doing it is sick, with the Nevada State Education Association filing suit like they're doing while Clinton remains above the fray.

How about she actually tell her supporters to stop the lawsuit rather than say "The courts and the state party will have to work it out." Isn't that the right and moral thing to do?

Hillary Clinton = MORE OF THE SAME.

In New Hampshire we had a last-minute, misleading flier and Obamama volunteers being kicked out of polling places illegally. In Nevad we have this last-minute "ooh! ooh! let's change the rules!" thing going on.

Only those on shaky ground in an argument wait until the last minute. Why? Because they know they'll lose if there's time for a rational, informed discussion. Connect the dots.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 13, 2008 9:24 PM.

Sweet: Not far from the Chicken Ranch. Waiting for Barack. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Obama, Clinton try to put lid on injection of race in campaign. is the next entry in this blog.

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