February 5th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
10 years ago

An historic day at an historic location

NEW YORK (CNN) - Voters at a Harlem elementary school named after trailblazing black Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. say they face an agonizing decision whether to vote for another African-American trailblazer.

“It’s a tough choice,” declared Charles Townsend, a 50-year-old professor at City College. “It’s an embarrassment to have to choose between the two.”

“I love Hillary Clinton,” said 75-year-old Georgia Brown after she pulled the level for Obama. “She’s already been President,” cracked Brown. “Time for change.”

Consider: Harlem is normally Clinton Country. Voters here twice elected Hillary Clinton to the Senate by overwhelming margins. Former President Bill Clinton remains hugely popular; his Harlem office is only a mile away from the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. School. And, Harlem’s Democratic political establishment led by Rep. Charles Rangel (who defeated Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in 1970) is backing Hillary Clinton.

But Barack Obama has huge appeal here.

“Hillary has better ideas. I love Bill Clinton,” said Margret Segura. Even so, the retired Harlem resident said she voted for Obama.

Obama’s call for change resonates with some voters here, young and old. Charles McKnight, 82, says he voted for Obama because “I’m tired of the system. I’m looking for something new.”

The decision was so difficult for some Harlem residents that they made up their minds in the voting booth.

“I struggled,” conceded Michael Jones, a hospital employee, before he voted for Hillary Clinton.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll of New York State voters, conducted January 30-February 3 had Clinton leading Obama 53 percent to 39 percent, a narrowing of her advantage.

Sen. Clinton is widely expected to win her state. But under Democratic primary rules, which split delegates according to percentage of votes, Barack Obama is likely to pick up a share of the state’s 281 delegates, in Clinton strongholds like Harlem.

- CNN's Alan Chernoff

soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. G.Pattullo

    Hillary or Obama one of them need to win the white house,,to all democrats dont change for what we always stand for, im a black male from Haiti for my black folks dont see Obama as black and dont see Hillary as white ,,see them as the one that gonna change America and get rid of those republicains in the white house, if you (DEMOCRATS) thinks Obama is the one vote for for him but dont vote for him because is black and you are a black african ,,you need a black african in the white house ,,think if the white voters decide to vote for Hillary,,will Obama stand a chance i really doubt it and there is no way for him to become President,,this campaign shouldn't be about race at all,,,,,this 2008 not 1948 or 1958 this is the new america a new century if you folks (BLACK, WHITE LATINO ASIAN) can't see it like that, those candidates dont deserve your votes,,,,,because you are still leaving in the PAST,,forget about the PAST now is the FUTURE

    February 6, 2008 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  2. PDC

    A man of "Words" to lead the most powerful country in the world.

    Debating HIllary is not going to give you enough experience to beat McCain.

    On The Job Training Candidate for Presidency.

    February 7, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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