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. beth

    Today we make history!! Hillary Clinton 08'

    February 5, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. observer#1

    Sounds like Michelle Obamas shouts of "Its our turn" were heard in Harlem. Need we be surprised? Nothing racial going on though, its just Obama bringing us together. Hillary all the way!

    February 5, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Bubba

    Didn't it ever occur to you readers that a large portion of the pro-Obama supporters on here are actually republicans?

    I listen to a "progressive radio" and hear callers from GOP havens calling in telling the listeners that they are suddenly leaving the republican party because Obama is so compelling! Get real, the GOP (Greedy Old Party) members could care less what Obama says, they just want the weakest opposition in November!

    Vote Hillary Clinton.

    February 5, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Barack Obama is the candidate who answered questions in early primaries, while Hillary Clinton cut off such opportunities. . .and instructed her daughter to do the same. Unfortunately, she couldn't silence her husband. . .to her dismay.

    The recent Obama rallies that have drawn literally thousands of individuals are forums at which to answer individual questions.

    I still chuckle when I remember the last CNN debate when the three candidates were asked about their weaknesses. Only Obama answered truthfully, while Clinton and Edwards gave stock answers, "My weakness is that I care TOO much!"

    Give me a break!!!

    Obama 08!!

    February 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Abner Mejia

    If you want driver's licenses for illegals, Obama is your guy. If you want Kennedy's and Kerry's ideas and deals implemented, Obama is your guy. If you have no clue of what you want, just hopeful like him, Obama is your guy. However, if you want to think about the future, with plenty of jobs, with surpluses rather than deficits, with America's reputation restored, then you want to vote for Hillary Clinton. All the people with negative remarks about Bill Clinton need to remember that he was elected president to fix the economy. Remember "It is the economy stupid"? Did he not deliver that? Was America not prosperous and respected then? Did we not have economic surpluses and deficit under control? Did you realize ALL those things REALLY happened during the Clinton presidency? Or were you busy about gossiping about the affair (which was supposed to be his family’s business–not yours) that you missed to see that the accomplished what he said he would?

    February 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    WMW, there is no place for your kind in this United States we the people are moving on without you.

    February 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. julie

    Women are shamelessly voting for HRC because she is a woman. Hillary is trying to appeal to them by crying every day before an election and by going on the Hallmark channel. No one should vote for anyone based on race OR gender but if you haters think that women are voting for Hillary because of her policies then y'all are nuts. Women are voting for Hillary because they want to vote for a woman and because they liked Bill. Nothing more to it than that, and this is a disgrace. I've heard more than one person lately joke that we never should have given women the right to vote. I am a woman and value my right to vote but if most women are simply going to blindly vote for a woman then maybe that joke has a point.

    Ladies, don't be fooled by crocodile tears! If YOU cried in a job interview, you wouldn't get the job, so why should she???

    February 5, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Don

    HARLEM voted for OBAMA? I'm so shocked...right oprah, its not about race at all...

    February 5, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    WMW, there is no place for your kind in this United States we proud Americans are moving on without you.

    February 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Bubba

    Come on CNN, you have been catering to Obama and censoring Pro-Clinton comments.

    Yeah – I know "Your comment is awaiting moderation."

    Seems like the media (radio, newspapers, television and Internet outlets like CNN) have been pushing for Obama! Could it be that the "corporate owners" want to make sure that we have another Republican President?

    February 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Illinois Voters

    Two Illinois voters here who wholeheartedly support Hillary Clinton! As residents of Illinois we know the true poor record of Senator Obama. We suggest that voters check the record of a candidate before voting. Hillary Clinton has the experience, and a real plan to improve our economy, health care, environment and foreign relations.

    February 5, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Lori

    Hillary is the clear intelligent choice for president. Voting for someone just because you "like him better than her" is how Jr. High School kids choose who to vote for. We should vote for the person most likely to be able to do the job–as evidenced by her experience.

    February 5, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Intellectuals

    If she could not get the health care done in 8 years, why would she as a president ?

    35 years -wasted

    Obama '09-17

    February 5, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Gigi

    Obama will probably carry my state of Alabama, but I did not vote for him or Mrs. Clinton. I actually threw my vote away by voting for the man I thought was the best one for the job. He suspended his candidacy, but I know he got at least one vote from a very dedicated supporter.

    February 5, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Jimmy

    young voters (first time voters) not mindful or knowledgeable on the serious issues facing our country, in my humble opinion, are voting just to let one and all that they are now old enough to vote. The candidates have stated more than a few times that this election is not about race or religion.

    IF you look at the polls, they tell us that race and religion does play a role and IT IS SHOWING without a doubt. LOOK at the early results. There is more division
    among the voters than ever. All the previous LOSERS in the previous Presidential campaigns have gotten together to endorse one of the Democratic candidate.
    I suppose that to them it would be some sort of a vicarious victory if their candidate wins. NOT one of these previous candidates or a well know wannabee
    whose tainted past will be remembered long after he's gone.

    Let's pray for the best. GOD Bless America.

    February 5, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. JAS

    The logic makes sense, thanks for making my decision easier. I'm white, I'll vote white.

    February 5, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. John B.

    I think that you reached that decision the moment you saw Obama

    February 5, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  18. Helen NC

    WOW to hear why some of these people vote for obama....no wonder this counyry is in such bad shape. VERY SAD

    February 5, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. Tou, Minnesota

    Wow. Some of you really like to be ruled. Ever since I was just a kid in 1988, my livelihood has been ran by a Bush or Clinton....20 frickin years. Enough with the old. Bring in the new. I still don't see what Clinton did that was so great for African Americans or what he did for the economy. The Clintons didn't invent the Internet to boost the economy. Quit giving them credit they don't deserve. Have we forgot that Clinton cheated on Hillary and almost got impeached? And now we won't them back in the White House. Only reason why they're still together is for their own careers, nothing else. Vote Obama to restore the Constitutional rights that were given to us.

    February 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. gershon

    If I were black, I'd vote for Obama. If I were a woman, I'd vote for Hillary. If I were a veteran, I'd vote for McCain. If I were an evangelical, I'd vote for Huckabee. If I were a Morman, I'd vote for Romney.

    Being none of the above, I'll just go for the one who seems clearest on the issues and best qualified for the job. This year, it's Hillary.

    February 5, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. malay from Nyc

    it is ashame that we in NY state or NYC doesn't support our Senator all the way, unlike IL they do support their Senator 100%. How come we can't do that? I support Hillary and it's so disappointing to see harlem folks not to support her. After all they done to there neighborhood.

    February 5, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. lawrence burke

    hillary is good....obama is needed at this time......i'm sure they is a role for her.....

    February 5, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Abner Mejia

    Go for what is certain, not for what is unproven. Vote Hillary.

    February 5, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. michael w

    OUT with the OLD SCHOOL & IN with the NEW!!!
    A vote for Obama is a vote for CHANGE!!!!

    February 5, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. Norma Stark

    Obama is good but i"m not sure about his strength. I feel Hilary has the intelligence and the strength to be a good president.

    February 5, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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