Local politicos split " Obama or Clinton? | AspenTimes.com

Local politicos split " Obama or Clinton?

ASPEN ” If the contest for the U.S. presidency depended on Pitkin County, which historically has voted strongly Democratic, it very well might turn out as a draw between U.S. senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

An informal poll of members of the Aspen City Council and the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners indicated that, of those who could be reached, most would vote for either Clinton or Obama in Tuesday’s precinct caucus meetings. But at least four of those contacted had not yet decided between the two.

On the City Council side, Mayor Mick Ireland and council members J.E. DeVilbiss and Dwayne Romero all said they support Obama, while Steve Skadron said he had not yet made up his mind.

Among the county commissioners, only Dorothea Farris and Michael Owsley said they support Obama. Jack Hatfield and Rachel Richards both said they had not yet made up their minds, but likely would support one or the other. Patti Clapper could not be reached for comment.

City CouncilmanJack Johnson was the only one of those polled who said he would not vote for either of the two Democrats most likely to get the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in August.

“I’m not voting on Tuesday, because my guy is out,” Johnson said, explaining that he had supported the unsuccessful bid by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich until Kucinich dropped out of the race, and then had thrown his allegiance to former South Carolina Sen. John Edwards until Edwards quit.

“I wouldn’t know how to pick between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” Johnson said.

Among those who expressed preference for Obama, the opinions were strong.

“Bill Clinton let me down,” said Owsley of the former president, who would become First Spouse if Hillary Clinton won the election, and who some believe would exert considerable influence on national policy.

“All he could think about was [sex] when he was in office, and I need someone who can do more than that,” Owsley continued.

Farris called Obama “bright, enthusiastic, caring, optimistic, well informed, thoughtful, honest, ethical and willing to take on the challenge of leading this great nation,” and added that “only with true leadership can America hope to emerge into its next role in history as a nation of hope, of peace, of individual and national pride; a nation of environmental stewards, of technological wizards, and of caring people who wish to share their best with the world. Barack Obama shows every indication that he is that leader.”

Mayor Ireland opined that “Mr. Obama is the single best hope for changing a system that produces legislation like FISA, lets New Orleans slide into the oblivion of neglect, allows media concentration and provides immunity for telecom companies that disclose personal information without legal basis. Barack Obama has a definite plan for withdrawing from Iraq. And I think he understands the needs and problems of the less affluent citizens who are seeing their income stagnate or decline.”

Romero said he feels Obama can provide “a healing process [for the U.S.] given what’s happened the last eight to 10 years. I like his vision, his spirit, and the new hope he portrays.”

All of those polled, with the exception of Johnson, said they will be attending caucus meetings Tuesday, which begin between 5 and 6 p.m. depending on location and party.

Information about caucus times and locations can be found on the websites of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties.


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