It’s been 40 years since Indiana played such an important role in the Democratic presidential nomination.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been criss-crossing the state over the past several weeks, trying lock up the state’s 73 pledged delegates.
“You’ve got two attractive people running, both of them are going to make history. Political history’s already been made but the only thing that really matters is not political history, it’s your future.”
“I’m excited to be here with you to talk about what’s important to you and your friends and your families this election.”
That was Bill Clinton speaking in Booneville and Chelsea Clinton addressing students at Indiana University Southeast. IUS in particular has been a popular stop for campaigns, due in part to the work of the IUS College Democrats.
The organization brought Chelsea Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright to campus to campaign for Senator Clinton. It also sponsored a visit from Senator Obama himself.
IUS College Democrat Marie Billings says the group was anxious to work with both campaigns.
“I’m super-excited by the level of participation that I see from students here on campus…just their enthusiasm for getting involved. I’m very excited.”
Billings says classmates in her circle are leaning toward the senator from Illinois.
“I see students favoring Obama.”
“By a pretty big margin?”
“A pretty big margin by what I speak to.”
Senator Clinton is generating support in southern Indiana as well. Nathan Wheatley was among more than 1,000 people who came to Jeffersonville High School to see the New York Senator.
“I think it’s all about experience and people argue over this experience thing but when it comes down to it, she’s been in close relations with the White House and she has those diplomatic relations Obama hasn’t been able to build yet.”
During their campaign stops in southern Indiana, both Clinton and Obama pledged to improve employment numbers and boost the economy.
“I have said across Indiana, my campaign is about jobs, jobs, jobs because if we don’t have good jobs with rising incomes everything else we want to do is not going to happen.”
“We can’t wait to create an economy that allows everybody to prosper and not just some people.”
Both candidates refrained from sharp attacks on each other, with Obama reassuring voters that he and Senator Clinton are not bitter enemies.
“Don’t worry about the party being divided in November. Because the Democratic party is going to recognize as soon as we have a nominee that there is too much at stake for us to be divided. Too much is at stake in this election.”
Clinton supporter Nathan Wheatley agrees that the party will be united come November, and he’ll remain loyal even if his candidate doesn’t get the nod.
“Would you vote for McCain if Obama gets the nomination?”