Clinton gets green in Pennsylvania

March 15, 2008 1:47:59 PM PDT
Wearing a black coat and green scarf, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton kicked off in Pittsburgh the first of two parade appearances, waving and smiling to a cheering crowd of St. Patrick's Day revelers. Thousands of green-clad supporters chanted "Hillary, Hillary" as the candidate walked the mile-long parade route alongside Gov. Ed. Rendell, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato.

"Happy St. Patrick's Day, Pittsburgh. This is a great parade," Clinton shouted into a microphone near the end of the parade. "Let the luck of the Irish be with us all."

Dozens of supporters waving "Hillary 08" shamrocks and green "Clinton Country" signs led the crowd in rousing cheers. Volunteers handed out campaign stickers and green T-shirts declaring "Irish Americans for Hillary for President."

"I love Hillary," said Freddie Lewellyn, using a green blanket to protect herself from the chill of a gray 40-degree Saturday morning.

"I just think she's strong, she's intelligent, she's wonderful and I think she'll be great for our country because I think George W. Bush is awful," said the 66-year-old employee of Pittsburgh's Professional Library Service.

Clinton's appearance in Pittsburgh was the first of two on Saturday.

At the St. Patrick's Day parade in Scranton, the city where Clinton's father was born and raised, well-wishers lined up 10 deep in spots to catch a glimpse of her.

Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, have been campaigning heavily in Pennsylvania during the past week, gearing up for the state's April 22 primary when 158 delegates will be awarded in the hotly contested Democratic primary.

A smattering of Barack Obama supporters held green "Obama" signs along Pittsburgh's parade route, trying to boo the candidate as she walked by. But hundreds of Clinton supporters outnumbered and out-shouted them.

Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris represented Obama in the parade. It was not immediately known when the candidate himself would visit Pittsburgh, a union city that is heavily Democratic.

Jessica Schmitt, a 24-year-old first-grade teacher in Pittsburgh, eagerly handed out Obama stickers to passers-by and said she believes campaigning for him is the "most important thing I can do."

"He's going to be a unifier, a breath of fresh air, he has everything for people like us, the middle-class, that have been ignored for a long while," Schmitt said.

Every year thousands of people turn out for Pittsburgh's St. Patrick's Day parade, where vendors sell green trinkets and downtown businesses are permitted to serve alcohol outside in Market Square. This year, however, many parade-goers said that after having skipped a few parades they came out Saturday just to see Clinton.

Waving a green Clinton sign, John Peluso, 56, said he's only been to the parade three times. Excited to see the candidate he supports, he compared Clinton to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the late Princess Diana.

"A woman, I think, will fight more for the issues," said Peluso, a counselor at Mercy Behavioral of Pittsburgh. "Men are more arrogant ... it seems like all they do is yap."


Load Comments