January 19th, 2008
05:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Political fervor peaks in Caesear’s ballroom

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) – If you weren’t supporting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama at the caucus held Saturday at Caesar’s Palace, then you were caught in some pretty aggressive crossfire.

Early reports showed that the at-large caucuses on Las Vegas’ famed Strip were fairly evenly divided between Obama and Clinton, and at Caesar’s the two sides didn’t mind voicing their support. The senators’ corners volleyed chants back and forth and often crossed the invisible line that separated them in the middle of the ballroom to bait the other side.

On several occasions the back-and-forth grew heated, with rumors of false information and unfair lobbying of undecideds swirling among caucus-goers.

Clinton supporters from the Steel Workers’ Union held signs saying “I Support my Union, I Support Hillary.” Since the at-large caucuses we targeting workers from Culinary Union which endorsed Obama, the Obama supporters felt Clinton supporters were misleading undecided Culinary workers.

In the end, of the 33 delegates allotted to Caesar’s, 17 went to Obama and 16 to Clinton. The six caucus-goers (of 167) who weren’t supporting Obama or Clinton quietly slipped their second choices to the caucus chair so the warring factions wouldn’t swarm them. Four went for Obama, one for Hillary, and the last decided not to commit.

- CNN Nevada Producer Alexander Marquardt

Filed under: Nevada
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Suraki

    The article states:

    "The senators’ corners volleyed chants back and forth and often crossed the invisible line that separated them in the middle of the ballroom to bait the other side."

    But in the coverage I saw, it was the Hillary supporters that crossed over, marching, chanting, and stuffing Hillary signs in the faces of the Obama supporters.

    In regards to the "race card", it appears to me that the Clintons tried to set a trap for Obama. I believe that Hillary's comments in regards to LBJ and MLK were intended to provoke a reactionary response from the Obama campaign that would cause him to be likened to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and allow them to criticize him for creating a race issue. But, Obama didn't fall for it; as far as I am able to tell, this is the extent of his commentary on the issue:

    "Senator Clinton made an unfortunate remark, an ill-advised remark,
    about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn't make the statement. I haven't
    remarked on it, and she, I think, offended some folks who felt that
    somehow diminished King's role in bringing about the Civil Rights Act.
    She is free to explain that, but the notion that somehow this is our
    doing is ludicrous."

    On the day of their truce, I was reading CNN. I watched the headline come in, first it was Obama's camp that wanted to move on. They didn't think the quarrel was doing the party or their campaigns any favors. Not long after and not to be outdone, the Hillary campaign issued a release that said the same thing. The media has tried to make this look like a simultaneous and mutual decision, but it wasn't. It was Obama's initiative and he had the least to do with the conflict to begin with.

    If I recall correctly, it was the next morning when Clinton supporter Charlie Rangell disparaged Obama for playing the race card - something he never did - and called his remarks "stupid". It seemed to me an attempt to draw Obama back into the fray, but again, it didn't work. Publicly, Hillary disavowed the remarks, the same way she disavowed Bob Johnson's comments, which Johnson later tried to
    pretend was about Obama's time spent doing community organizing work.

    This stuff goes on and on for the Clinton campaign; individual incidents could be explained away or pardoned, but this repeating pattern has gotten ridiculous.

    At one point, HRC was my top choice for presidential candidate, but after watching months (and to a lesser extent, years) of this cutthroat garbage going on, neither my wife nor I will under any circumstances give Hillary our votes. I'll go McCain.

    Obama / Edwards '08

    January 20, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  2. Independent in America

    Suraki – Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, said he thought the controversy had been blown out of proportion and further that he assumed what she was trying to say is that a president needs leadership and vision. "He didn't believe it was her intent was to diminish his dad" nor did he think it was meant to be a racist remark.

    Also Martin Luther King III, offers the best caution when he advises voters — of every race and sex — not to become "so fixated on the candidates that they forget about issues that would still cause [my father] pain."

    He has not endorsed any candidate yet, but he did give John Ewards a glowing letter stating "I challenge all candidates to follow your lead"!

    January 22, 2008 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
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