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. Nereda Haque

    Hiliary all the way...The media needs to give her equal attention. Every time they play up Obama I turn the channel

    This is my first time to vote as I just became an American citizen after living in most years since 1971.

    The more I read about what Hiliary has done, the more confidence I have in the future. She is change, she is smart, she has KNOW-HOW.

    February 5, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. Wayne

    Think about it America who is Obama..!!?? Vote Hillary....

    February 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Brando

    Barack Can't get 270 EV in Nov. He NEEDS Hillary's help, she NOT! gonna help him. NO SOUTH = NO WHITE HOUSE, BARACK.

    February 5, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    An historic? A historis

    February 5, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Dan Barber

    Thrillary '08! She's paid the costs to be the boss.

    February 5, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. disneydrh@yahoo.com

    So, Maybe Obama supporters should look up the following with Obama's name linked to it on the yahoo search: Obama and maytag, obama and Exelon Nuclear, and Obama and Rezko! Surprising what one my find about oh holy allah obama!

    February 5, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. JEB

    It's time for change. People with no morale should not continue to rule this nation. The Clinton are very polarized. Obama deserve a chance

    February 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. mudfinger

    Hillary is man enough, but lacks the maturity level of the younger Obamer...

    February 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. James

    This is so despicable – media comes in right on cue with two examples of Obama voters to show us that it's time for "change", or "hope", whatever that's supposed to mean. What's more, you have to click on the link to read that Hillary's still going to win NY with double digits!

    February 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Dem Ohio

    and they are not voting for him because he is black? What? I think we knew this is the way it would go.

    February 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Jessica

    VOTE CLINTON in 2008!

    February 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. Philly4Hillary2508

    I think, Senator Obama sings a pretty song, but I doubt his ability to dance to it!! It's one thing to talk about what you want to do, but do you have the experience it takes to get it done.

    I believe Senator Clinton is the one who can turn her words into reality. She's been doing this for 35 years, with success! As Jack said, "She's the best man for the job"

    Go Hillary!!!

    February 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Didi Miesen

    Go Hillary!!!

    February 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Miyamoto

    To Dennis

    It is unfortunate that the Main Stream Media does not give Hillary the same coverage as Obama, which is why many do not know her plans on other issues. If you're interested in her plans, you can go to her website and watch the National Town Hall she held last night where she discussed everything from the economy to green jobs, energy independence, veterans issues, even infrastructure. As far as allies are concerned, more super delegates have endorsed her than Obama.
    Recent endorsements include Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, if you like star power, Jack Nicholson endorsed her yesterday.

    February 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. jim

    if Obama get nominated, I would vote for MacCain, period. Obama is no taste.

    February 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Go hilary

    Hillary clinton for president!

    February 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Marie

    I wish that reporters would stop intimating or stating that Harlem is Clinton country. I lived in Harlem -right on W.125th for all of last year, and no one who did not work for Clinton cared that his offfice is in Harlem, or spoke of him fondly. CNN et al. must be cherry-picking people to go along with their "Harlem Loves Bill" conviction. You can put a flag in the dirt and it doesn't make the ground yours. Sheesh! Edwards '08:( turned Obama '08

    February 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Canaan

    I voted for MY SENATOR to be MY PRESIDENT. It felt great to vote for Hillary!

    When was the last time we had a President strong on national security and strong on domestic issues too. That's Hillary. That's what Bill meant when he said 'with Hillary you get two-for-one.' One President - strong on economy and healthcare, strong on national security.

    February 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. PW Va

    If I hear the fricking word "experience, again in reference to THE HILL, I think I'll retch. NO ONE has the expereience of being the president unless you've actually been president for one term and have been elected for another...then you can at least say you have expereience no matter whether that experience is good, bad are in-between. Enough with the "expereience card", Hillary...it's sounding very antiquated at this point!!!

    February 5, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. O'Obama

    Go OBAMA!!!!

    If you haven't voted for primary yet. Please go and vote for Obama.

    Obama for President.

    February 5, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Jerry

    Obama has taken questions, he has participated in the debates with Hillary for one, and, at least in my town, he spoke with individuals at an event I attended.

    Everyone has an opinion on who has better ideas, judgment, experience etc., I think we ought to respect when someone disagrees -and not denigrate an old woman who votes against her belief. The truth is every candidate will get reasoned and non-reasoned support. I have a co-worker who is voting for Hillary just because she is a woman, and another who is too apathetic to be informed -so she's going Bill II. Let's not be self-righteous about our neighborhoods, or co-supporters. I say that even as I too wish that people at least had some serious reasons behind who gets their vote. Not just 'he's black, she's female, or Bill Clinton sure looked cool when he played the sax in '94' Obama '08.

    February 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Adam, New York

    Hillary, 2008.

    Vote for issues, not color.

    February 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. BABucher, NYC

    vegage: Yes, and Obama was such a poor student that he got a job teaching Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School, one of the top law schools in the country.

    If you're going to refute, know your facts.

    February 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. bob

    I know it is a hard choice to make. My own family is split on the candidates.

    I still go for Hillary – because she really knows how to get things done. Obama has to learn everything. Does he hope or dream that the republican congress and senate will go away? He actually has to talk to and deal with these folks.

    Hillary, go!!

    February 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Ratgurl

    "Mark Cross Junction VA February 5, 2008 3:11 pm ET

    Torn between trailblazing or the color of skin? Hmmm. What two great reasons to vote. What ever happened to voting for the best candidate. I guess logic doesn't exist in Harlem N.Y. What a doomed outcome our Country faces."


    I believe the trailblazer is the person of color! Hillary is old hat.

    February 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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