Clinton, Obama Placing Bets on Vegas

It’s Vegas so I had to toss in a gambling reference.

Nonetheless, that’s precisely what’s happening between the top Democratic candidates. In what may be a response to her Iowa 3rd place finish, Clinton is busy bashing the Nevada caucus process as “exclusionary”, story from Political Radar:

ABC News’ Eloise Harper reports: With the Nevada caucuses approaching on Jan. 19, Sen. Hillary Clinton reflected upon her defeat in the Iowa caucuses at an appearance in Las Vegas’ District 11, a lower-income and predominately Hispanic part of town, suggesting caucuses cause a “disenfranchisement” of voters and perhaps lowering expectations for her campaign in Nevada.

“You have a limited period of time on one day to have your voices heard,” Clinton, D-N.Y., said. “That is troubling to me. You know in a situation of a caucus, people who work during that time — they’re disenfranchised. People who can’t be in the state or who are in the military, like the son of the woman who was here who is serving in the Air Force, they cannot be present.”

While I will agree, caucusing on a Saturday morning at 11:30am is rough, it seems as though Hillary thinks the caucus process favors Obama. That’s a possibility because primaries are much more open and accessible meaning that everybody and their uncle can get to the polls. This lends itself to more widespread support among voters. Whereas, the caucus process is a much smaller intimate setting of much more devoted voters who may be coming out with Obama-excitement-syndrome to support him.

Another story on Hillary in Vegas from ReviewJournal.com:

People in the Las Vegas neighborhood saw all the cameras and trucks and buses and police on the streets Thursday, and they began to trickle out of their houses to find out what was going on.

Soon, as a sherbet-orange desert sunset filled the sky, they got their answer, as New York Sen. Hillary Clinton began walking up the street of low-slung houses near Eastern and Washington avenues, accompanied by the area’s representative, state Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen.

Clinton hugged Kihuen around the shoulders and asked about his family, and then the two began knocking on doors, the same doors Kihuen knocked on nearly two years ago in his first campaign. Clinton spent more than an hour in the predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhood.

The Nevada caucus isn’t huge, but at this point, it’s become important for Democrats as it will become the tiebreaker. If Obama wins, he can continue some of the Iowa momentum. However, if Clinton wins, I think her feeling of inevitability may come back into play. If she wins Nevada, Iowa becomes a fluke that can be written off.

Meanwhile, Obama has also been busy in Nevada, story from The Caucus:

LAS VEGAS – What happens in Vegas should not stay in Vegas.

That’s the word from Senator Barack Obama, who kicked off his Nevada campaign tonight at a rally of cooks and housekeepers, bartenders and bellmen. On hand were a smattering of the 60,000 people who comprise the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, the largest union in Nevada, which is supporting him in next Saturday’s caucuses.

“We’re gonna show America that what happens in Vegas – is not, no, no – it’s not gonna stay in Vegas any more!” Mr. Obama said, speaking in a crowded union hall a few blocks from the edge of the Las Vegas strip. “We’re going to start something in Vegas and we’re gonna send it across Nevada and across America and everybody’s going to know the power of a united people.”

The polls are few and far between for Nevada so I’m betting that the gap Hillary was enjoying back in December has diminished. It will be interesting to watch the Jan 15. MSNBC Democratic debate as that will be the battle for Nevada.