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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Puerto Rico: "Yes, Bill Clinton is here", said the loudspeakers

Bill Clinton Visits Puerto Rico, Rich in Culture and Delegates And what is he after?
All morning, the trucks blasted the same short message, as if repetition might make it more believable: "Sí! Bill Clinton está aquí!"

It may have been the first U.S. presidential campaign rally in Puerto Rican history, but more are sure to follow. On June 1, the U.S. commonwealth will hold a Democratic primary that will help determine 63 delegates -- more than the number awarded to 24 of the 50 states. About 2.5 million voters are eligible to participate in the primary, and both Hillary Clinton and her Democratic challenger, Sen. Barack Obama, are expected to visit the island to woo them.
The WaPo is slightly incorrect in this statement:
The 4 million residents of Puerto Rico are not allowed to participate in the general election, so they plan to press their issues during their brief turn in the national spotlight.
As long as they are permanent residents of Puerto Rico, they can't, but once they move to any of the 50 states and establish permanent residency there, they can vote in the general election.

Of course, Hillary's promising anything,
Each candidate recently released a policy letter about Puerto Rico, and local politicians have spent weeks dissecting them to determine a preference. Clinton's letter was three pages long; Obama's was one. Clinton, by promising a status resolution by the end of her first term, became the popular choice for statehood supporters. Obama, by saying he would consider all three possibilities, tends to be popular among those who like being a commonwealth.
The "status" issue's been Puerto Rican's favorite non-issue for decades and my guess is that Hillary won't be the one making headway on it, but the article also says that
no U.S. president has visited in 45 years
I'll have to check on that, but they're probably right. I vaguely remember Bill visiting PR during his administration.

There's also a couple of interesting things in the WaPo article:
The Clinton rally they mention was in Barceloneta, not a major city. I'm not quite sure why Barceloneta, of all places.
The rally attracted only 1,000 people, which for a political crowd in Puerto Rico is very small. Most of them were there for the entertainment:
The crowd -- raucous and dancing a few minutes earlier -- remained mostly silent during the 10-minute speech. Some people left. Others chatted on their cellphones.
Here's a YouTube of Bill attending a rally at a housing project on Sunday:

As you can see, it was a small rally indeed.

Prior posts on the Puerto Rico Democrat primary
Two theories on the Puerto Rican primary
Desperation and the Puerto Rico primary


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At 2:45 PM, Blogger kate said...

"The crowd -- raucous and dancing a few minutes earlier -- remained mostly silent during the 10-minute speech. Some people left. Others chatted on their cellphones."

the love affair with bill clinton is definately over! great article. thanks.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Real Clintons:


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