Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet column: Clinton, Obama California targets. Independents banned from GOP primary can vote in Dem contest, giving Obama an edge.


LOS ANGELES -- California is a sprawling political battleground and to make inroads in this diverse state in the last weekend before Tuesday's primary here, the Obama and Clinton campaigns are targeting women, Hispanics, African Americans and young voters.

This afternoon Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy and Michelle Obama stump for Barack Obama at the University of California, Los Angeles, while Bill Clinton appears at four churches in black communities in the area this morning.

Winfrey joins Caroline Kennedy and Obama's wife as Clinton's campaign is depending on female voters here. Conversely, the former president is working turf that is fertile territory for Obama.

Obama's campaign touted the endorsement of La Opinion, the nation's largest Spanish-language paper on Saturday -- the paper cited his support for driver's licenses for illegal immigrants -- while Hillary Clinton held a rally at the California State University-Los Angeles campus aimed at Hispanics.

Introduced by Sally Field, Brad Whitford (of "The West Wing"), basketball's Magic Johnson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, among others, Clinton invoked the names of Robert F. Kennedy and legendary farm union organizer Cesar Chavez. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign announced RFK's widow, Ethel, was backing the Illinois senator.

Clinton sharpened a major thrust for her, differences with Obama over health insurance. "My opponent will not commit to universal health care," she said to boos from the audience. "I do not believe we should nominate any Democrat who will not proudly stand here today, tomorrow, and the next day and say universal health care is the goal."

At issue is Obama's plan to drive down the cost of health insurance so more people will buy a policy; Clinton proposes mandating coverage.

The Golden State has 370 delegates up for grabs -- the most of any state. Early balloting started Jan. 7 and almost half the anticipated ballots have been cast. Obama, who does better with independents, may have an edge here in that independents can vote in the Democratic primary on Tuesday while Republicans must be pre-registered.


New poll ABC/Wash Post Show :
Obama beats McCain & Romney, Clinton LOSES to McCain, and beats Romney by smaller margin


Also, Zogby Abc/wash post show virtual tie nationally.

Yes we can !

Princess Caroline's temper tantrum with Uncle Teddy is based on another fairytale of this campaign. JFK ignored MLK's fountain pens, and in fact it was LBJ who signed the voting rights act. Please. And now to have not only the TreeHouse food counsel and the media titan created by media deregulation stumping with a woman I pity for losing a great father in that manner, but someone who's never complained publicly about the Warren Commission whitewash on the campaign stump. Well--what to say. The Obama camp is putting out disinformation about Edwards--that votes for him will not count. Hopefully, the people of Illinois, California and elsewhere will not buy the hype. Obama's nuke and coal gassification support in Illinois has been very surprising indeed to this former supporter. If I have to vote for him in fall, I will. But instant run-off ballots begun at local, then state, then national levels seem to be the long term solution of true value.

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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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