February 5th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
6 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. Carrie

    Obama 08! YES WE CAN!!!

    February 5, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Dan, NJ

    Hillary supporters, the nation is about 11% black. Women make up over 50% of Dem voters. Hillary has been playing to women since day one, crying twice on the eve of a huge primary vote. If you don't like identity politics, look to your candidate as the emobyment of same.

    Rumor has it Al Gore will endorse Obama is he does well today. No indication what consitutes "doing well."

    February 5, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Midwestern

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

    WOW that is smart........you like the ideas of someone but vote against them. I wonder if its a race thing......."im black so im gonna vote black" ......

    February 5, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Kris

    Yes I have to agree that Hillary answers questions and Obama does not. Hillary can bring this country back to where it should be. I also agree that too many people are voting for Obama because of his celebrity and famous endorsements,. This is not a reason to vote for someone! Vote Hillary! Show the world that woman are just as capable of running the country as the man who has been running our country for the past two terms.

    February 5, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Charlotte

    Paul, I totally agree, Hillary has better ideas, but I'm voting for Obama? That is one comment that says it all!!!!

    February 5, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Linda

    LATINAS FOR SENATOR CLINTON!!!
    EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE.

    GO HILLARY - YOU WILL BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT, PERIOD.

    February 5, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Taylor

    Charlotte, your comment is one of the most intelligent I've read on the Politcal Ticker in a while. Bravo to you for pointing out what is really happening in this race.

    February 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Bubba

    A vote for Obama is a WIN for the GOP!

    You Obama supporters will savor the day if he gets the nomination but, you'll be overcome with grief when he loses the November election to "ANY REPUBLICAN" by a landslide!

    Vote Hillary Clinton and bring the White House back to the Democratic Party.

    February 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Me

    Hillary herself included the 8 years as part of her experience.

    February 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Electress

    Keep watching the right hand corner of your TV, where the Dow is getting pounded. Think about the recession we are in.

    Hillary is the best candidate to deal with these problems, she has experience,
    and leadership to tackle the problems.

    Vote Hillary, Vote for Solutions.

    February 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. John

    Hillary Clinton just blatantly lied on national television this morning. She said there were "six" contests so far and she won four of them. She was apparently referring to Michigan and Florida, which she promised the Democratic party she would not compete in.

    Claiming victories in Florida and Michigan is like claiming a trophy in a basketball game when the other team couldn't show up because of a snowstorm.

    She's shameless and she appears to be heading to a real defeat this time.

    February 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. MC

    If everyone want's a change IN WASHINGTON then get rid of all the old politician's in office STARTING WITH TED KENNEDY! OBAMA IS A HYPOCRITE!

    *******************************HILLARY CLINTON 08'*********************************

    February 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Isaac

    Those who criticize ethnic or gender minorities who vote for their own are typically those who have never known oppression. ie, WASP's living in homogeneous places.

    February 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. RAUL

    WE DO SO KNOW WHY WE VOTE FOR OBAMA.

    WE VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE HE DOES NOT SPEND HIS TIME LYING TO US.

    WE VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE HE WILL MAKE OUR COUNTRY PROUD AGAIN AND RESPECTED AROUND THE WORLD.

    HE WILL BRING OTHERS INTO THE TENT NOT CHASE THEM AWAY.

    HE HAS NO BAGGAGE.

    HE WILL NOT RUN A CO PRESIDENCY.

    WE VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE UNLIKE HILLARY HE HAS THE TEAMWORK DOES IT ATTITUDE TO GET HEALTH CARE THROUGH CONGRESS AND GET IT DONE.

    WE VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE OUR YOUNG WARRIORS BLOOD ON HIS HANDS LIKE HILLARY.

    WE VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE YES; NO REASON TO APOLOGIZE HE INSPIRES.

    BARACK AND ROLL IN 2008!

    February 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Harriet

    I wonder if we could stop bashing people for exercising their right to vote for the candidate of their choice. Democracy means just that – that we can vote our conscience and our hearts. There are two strong candidates running, but one has more of a negative history than the other.

    i do agree, though – based on baggage – 2 terms of any Clinton is more than enough.

    February 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. vegage

    Who belives Obama turned down good paid job offers and instead he went to work with the poors, PLEASE, that was the only job he got when graduated law school. He has no ideas, only speaks with no real plans, that why Hillary is the best candidate by far...

    February 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Chris, Orlando, FL

    I would never, NEVER vote for a candidate just because he/she was white like me. The voters who were interviewed for this piece who voted for Obama despite admitting that Hillary has better ideas should have their vote nullified. The day we elect someone on the basis of their skin color is the day this country has officially gone to hell.

    February 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. krysia

    I find it funny that people will pick up the fact that a black person votes black. How about the blacks who decide not to vote for Obama because of wanting to please people like you! i.e "not voting black". Give me a break! Hillary cannot unite across the party lines and you can only veto so much! How much has she gotten accomplished in the many years in the senate by enlisting the help of republicans and cynics? Obama will unite us as 1!

    February 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Mike from MA

    You can tell me all you want about Obama, but he just does not have the experience that Hillary Clinton has.

    Be leary of the man who does not allow questions to be asked.

    Obama had the perfect opportunity to take questions on his tour and yes, I am calling it a tour, because it reminded me of some rock star setup instead of real campaigning.

    This article is very one sided...

    Come on CNN...

    February 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT

    Obama doesn't have baggage?!?

    WHAT ABOUT REZKO?!?

    WHAT ABOUT HIS "PRESENT" VOTES?

    WHAT ABOUT HIS "OOPS I PUSHED THE WRONG BUTTON" VOTES?

    And I'm sure there are others. Then again, he hasn't DONE anything, so there isn't much to talk about. Unless you like talking about HOT AIR BALLOONS.

    HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!

    February 5, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    ahh yes, here we go yet again........LoL
    Hillary supporters up in arms because a black woman voted for Obama.
    Big deal. The bigger deal is the fact that Hillary supporters are not voting for Obama because he IS black. I can see the racism in every anti Obama post in this thread.
    And I'm white.

    February 5, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. dee

    I support Obama, but would back Hillary 100% if she were to get the nomination. Democrats have to stick together and support the party and its ideals.

    February 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    people LOVE to jump on this as a race issue, how is Harlem in any way indicative of how the rest of the country votes. I visited Obama's website, listened to his policeis, and he is clearyl the best candidate for presidency!!! no question!!

    OBAMA/EDWARDS 08!!!

    February 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. voter in ark

    Sometimes you have to do the wrong thing when you have a good opportunity just because people declined to do the right thing for so long.

    I love how folks like midwestern always want to pull the race card. lol

    OBAMA '08

    not to mention she abandoned us down here in ARK simply to raise her own profile.

    February 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Barb

    For those individuals that praise Hillary's ideas and experience I have a question.

    She has had over 6 years in the United States Senate to promote a health plan, to promote her ideas on education, to promote, to promote, to promote but did she? No!!!!. What held her back? Why now???

    Yes I too have heard that she was involved in many decisions that were made for our country while living in the White House, but that is experience? She claims to endores unions but what was her role when she was on the board of Wal Mart? Look that one up.

    This Independent voter from NH will not be casting a ballot for her come November. I have yet to miss an election in my 57 years of being eligible to vote but there is always a first.

    February 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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