Monday, June 02, 2008

Guest Opinion: Clinton strongest candidate in contest against McCain

By TOM TOWE - The Billings Gazette - Sunday, June 01, 2008

Why vote for Hillary Clinton? Because she is a stronger candidate in November.

I really like Barack Obama. I am impressed with some of his stands and his forthright talk. I think he has a great future. But, because I want the Democrats to win this November, I support Hillary. We can't take a chance that the Democrats would lose.

Let's review the facts. First, Hillary has received more of the popular vote than Obama. Since March 1, she has received over half a million more votes than Obama. Obama has won caucus states where not all the people vote. In November it is the people that vote, not the caucuses. More people have voted for Hillary than for any other Democratic primary candidate in the history of the Democratic Party. She is the people's choice.

Second, Hillary has won all the big states important to the Democrats this fall. She has won states that have 308 electoral votes, enough to win in the fall. Obama's wins are largely in Republican and small states that are simply not as important as the large swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida and Michigan. Four years ago, we lost Ohio and Florida; a change in either would have changed the presidency. Let's send our strongest candidate for the November contest.

Third, Hillary won West Virginia by 41 percentage points and Kentucky by 35 percentage points. In April she raised $22 million, her second-highest fundraising month in the campaign. She is getting stronger every day.

Fourth, Hillary has proven she can get the working-class votes from Middle America that Democrats must have to win. The Reagan Democrats will vote for Hillary. She has proven that in West Virginia and Kentucky. I doubt if the Reagan Democrats will vote for Obama. Obama may earn the respect of Democrats and intellectual independents, but the huge number of ordinary independents, the Reagan Democrats, and the Republicans simply won't vote for him.

Fifth, Obama has not yet been subject to the huge barrage of criticism that will come when he finally becomes the nominee. Criticism he has received so far in a polite Democratic primary will be nothing compared to what he will receive from the right-wing "stop Obama" people and "Swift Boat" Republicans. Hillary has been tested with all the criticism that Republicans and right-wing politicos can throw at her. And she has survived. She is a fighter. She can handle it. John Kerry couldn't. Can Obama? Why take a chance?

Finally, Hillary won states even when she was outspent. She was outspent 3-1 in Pennsylvania, 2-1 in Texas, and even in West Virginia where she won by 41 points. This is the kind of candidate we need for the fall campaign.

Hillary Clinton can win in the fall. Maybe Obama can too. But why take a chance?

In addition, I think Hillary has shown more substance. Her health care plan, her commitment to rebuild the middle class and her plans to create millions of new, good jobs are indeed impressive. As her husband before her, she can be a great president. And we can all be proud to have the first woman president.

This has been the most exciting primary ever. It has been great for the Democratic Party. It has attracted more voters than ever in the history of this country. Look how it has invigorated our party and focused attention on Democrats. Montana, the last state to vote, really has a voice this time. It matters. Vote for Hillary Clinton on June 3.

Democrat Tom Towe is a Billings attorney and former state senator.

Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.

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