February 5th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
7 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. aleta

    It's sad that Blacks are being made to feel guilty about supporting Barack Obama. This crap about "identity politics" is just another way to divide people. Was it identity politics before when white men supported another white man? The answer is NO.....NO...you didn't even hear that crap until a qualified African American started scaring all the racists with his popularity and chance of winning.

    When there were only whites running, there was no mention of "Identity Politics"

    February 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    This article does nothing but incite racist remarks. CNN, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. There is no substance in this article. I am sure there are a lot of women who voted for Hilary because she is a woman.

    My boyfriend is a physics professor, who just happens to be black. Although he had already decided to vote for Obama he was quite willing to vote for Hillary if she became the nominee. After the South Carolina fiasco with Hillary and Bill, he will no longer vote for her. (I mentioned that he is a professor so that you cannot dismiss him because of lack of intellect).

    I am a Miss Democrat here in California. I was originally torn between John Edwards and Barack Obama, and therefore because John dropped out voted for Barack. I have always defended Bill Clinton against the nasty remarks made by republican friends. However, I recently told them that I now understand there distaste for the Clintons. I was disgusted at their behavior.

    February 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Patty Don't

    If Clinton is the democratic nominee and she somehow beats Mccain (which without the Devil's endorsment, she won't) you'll catch me voting in the next mayoral election the great City of Vancouver will be holding.

    February 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Obama support in Iowa

    to Charlotte who says Obama holds rally's not town hall meetings.

    Obama has had hundreds of town hall meetings. I attended 2 of them here in Iowa just over a month ago. I have had the opportunity to ask him a question (as did several others in attendance) and he answered it to my satisfaction. He doesn't spout a lot of political rhetoric and nonsense, he talks plain english that anyone (who is listening) can understand. I read his book "The Audacity of Hope" last December and I am firmly convinced he is head and shoulders above any other candidate (in either party) running in this election. I have purchased 4 copies of that book for family and friends and all have become Obama supporters. Open your eyes and pay attention and you'll see what all the buzz is about.

    February 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Amanda

    I can't believe that people are actually voting based on color instead of ideas and what it takes to get them accomplished! This is a sad day in American history that we still haven't closed the racial divide.

    Go Hillary!!

    February 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Rachel

    Hillary has demonstrated that she can bring people together and win over critics. She has concrete ideas for change, and the commitment to make change happen.

    Hillary 08!!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. aleta

    Do we want more Clinton scandals in the White House? No ...who do you think will really be the president if Hillary gets the nomination? Not to mention what the Republicans will use against her...voting for the war. That was the main thing that was used against John Kerry. "You voted for the war before you voted against it."
    Wake up people ! Barack Obama gives this country a chance to show the world that we stand for the priciples of the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.These are the ideals we are trying to spread around the world. .....we should show that they really mean something to us. ....and are not just a sham!

    February 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Tee from SC

    OHIO!!!! WHAT IDIOTS!! I BELIEVE THEY'RE ALL FROM ANOTHER PLANET. DO THEY EVEN GET TO VOTE?

    February 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. A Coloradan

    I don't want to ignore the campaign or its issues, but is it too much to ask that people use correct English grammar when they post comments on a nationally viewed site? Obviously no one is perfect but honestly folks, get it together. As an Obama supporter I'd like to know exactly how Clinton will improve our education system so people can learn to read and write at an adult level. I've heard a lot about health care and Iraq but not much from her on specific plans to improve our schools.

    February 5, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. rafael

    "“Hillary has better ideas. I love Bill Clinton,” said Margret Segura. Even so, the retired Harlem resident said she voted for Obama." IT DOES NOT MAKE ANYMORE SENSE THAT ALL U IDIOTS VOTING FOR HILL BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN!!!

    February 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. lotus

    Vegage, Barak Obama graduated from Harvard Law School. I think he probably had a few job offers.

    February 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. TH

    John; Your right about Hilliary. She was not permitted to campaign in Florida and she did. Her stories just don't add up. But then Obama is not any better. Have you watched his interviews? He will tell you anything YOU want to hear. I'm about to go vote and I'm still unsure of whom.

    February 5, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. CHERYL

    HILLARY DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN FLORIDA OR MICHIGAN THE STATES OVERWHELMINGLY VOTED FOR HER! I GREW UP IN MICHIGAN AND THE CLINTON ERA WAS GREAT YOU COULD AFFORD TO LIVE! AND FLORIDA VOTED HER IN BECAUSE THE PEOPLE KNEW SHE WAS THE MOST ELECTABLE! THE STATE WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR AN AFRICAN AMERICAN! MAYBE SOME YOUNG OPRAH SUPPORTERS! THE FACT IS HILLARY LEADS IN THE POLLS! CNN SAID SO YESTERDAY! OH THEY LET IT SLIP! DOUBLE DIGITS I HEARD!!!! GO HILLARY PISS ON ALL THE NAY SAYERS! THEY WILL SEE TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HILLARY CLINTON WILL BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT! FLA FOR HILLARY!!!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Seth

    dsw – Edwards was the first candidate to express a need for "change." You can't point fingers at Hillary for following suit when Obama did the exact same thing. Obamaramas....no candidate, now or ever, past present or future, is was or will be a Saint.

    February 5, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. JB Cali

    Go Obama, he got my vote.

    February 5, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. -Hillary 08

    GO Hillary

    You want take another risk after Bush? might be too early to take risk again

    February 5, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. David

    Seth – how is it you know what "most people" know about Hillary? I think YOU should run for president, I mean, you must be a friggin' genius!

    HILLARY '08!

    February 5, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. DEM VOTER

    It is interesting to me that the Obama supporters seem to take pleasure in bashing Hillary and those that support her, and yet they are calling for "change," which I can presume also includes fairness, peace and respect, etc. Interestingly, they themselves do not seem to embrace these qualities. They are waiting for someone to do it for them.

    February 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Nathan,

    The statement that "Hillary has better ideas and I love her" but I voted for Obama shows exactly what this election is about. If you think she's the better candidate, and you also like her, oh excuse me "love her. Why vote for her opponent? What about him gets your vote?

    I was also against the war from the beginning. I want your vote.

    February 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. Lilly

    ummm...okay.....She is convinced that Hillary has better ideas, yet she votes for Obama? Is it because of his race and ethnicity? That would be very unfortunate and even more so, if this became some sort of national trend.

    February 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. VNC

    Um... let me just say... Barack Obama has a strong record/background which makes him fit to be this country's president... he's not all words and motivational speeches. Do your research people... you will be surprised once you really learn the facts.

    OBAMA '08

    February 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. HillarySupporter

    Obama has baggage if he has done anything.......because everyone does. To say he has no baggage says he hasn't done anything – that I can believe.

    But, why doesn't Senator Obama answer questions from the audience like Senator Clinton does? No answers or no Oprah – take your pick.

    February 5, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Akua

    The comments about Obama not letting questions be asked is not true. He had an open forum on MTV some months back that was all questions from the audience. I have not been to a rally (and if you haven't either you really shouldn't speculate) but I did watch the forum on MTV.

    And I believe that Republicans and some Democrats despise Hillary and Bill enough that they will rally against her, and we'll 8 more years of Republicans in the White House.

    February 5, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. Lilly

    Raul – Yes, but what are his views on the issues?

    HOW will he bring people together and unite the country?

    What is this Hillary "baggage" that you talk about and how does it pertain to her qualifications as a potentially effective president?

    Don't you think respect comes from concrete, detailed plans and actions and not inspiring words and speeches?

    Give me a break. I need REAL reasons to vote for a candidate.

    February 5, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. CHERYL

    YEAH! STUPIDITY IS RAMPANT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7