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Clinton Talks with D.C. Gay Paper
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service
2008-02-13


On the heels of losing more small state contests and preparing to go into the Feb. 12 primaries in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave an exclusive interview Sun., Feb. 10, to The Washington Blade, a D.C. gay newspaper.

Barack Obama won four small state contests for the Democratic nomination over the weekend, beating Clinton by comfortable margins in Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska and Washington state. And Republican Mike Huckabee picked up Louisiana and Kansas, to John McCain's win in Washington state.

Gay issues did not get much media play in the Democratic contests; Though several news reports in Washington state made note that caucus ballots asked voters whether they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

'I went to the Democratic gathering at Highland Middle School, in the Overlake part of Bellevue,' wrote Seattle Times reporter Danny Westneat. ' … Practically everyone refused to fill out the part of the ballot that asked whether they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Why a political party needs to know who you're sleeping with, I have no idea.'

And during a large rally in Seattle Feb. 8, Obama once again included mention of gays in his stump speech to the crowd. ( Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. )

Clinton replaced her campaign manager and loaned her coffers $5 million, signs that normally prompt speculation that her campaign is in trouble. But the New York State senator still holds a 20-some-delegate lead over Obama ( depending on whose numbers you look at ) and—while Obama is expected to pick up Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. this week—Clinton is widely favored to win the giant delegates states of Texas and Ohio March 4.

Read more story below....

But in an apparent attempt to woo gay voters in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia primaries Tuesday, Clinton's campaign made a Saturday night phone call to Blade editor Kevin Naff and offered a 10-minute interview Sunday morning. Naff managed to cover considerable territory during the interview, including why she favors repealing only part of the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) , compared to Obama's preference for repealing the entire law.

Clinton said her position reflects her experience in fighting against continued efforts to amend the federal constitution to ban gay marriage. In those fights, she said, the Republican majority had seen success in using gay marriage as a wedge issue.

'I was able to explain to other senators that DOMA ensured marriage would be left to the states—that was critical in defeating the amendment,' she said. 'It gave us an argument with both Republicans and Democrats.'

The Democratic race continues to have the potential to go down to the convention floor in Denver come August.

Meanwhile, the delegate count in the Republican race—down to just McCain and Huckabee now—makes it a technical impossibility for Huckabee to win. Yet Huckabee won the endorsement last week of Focus on the Family leader James Dobson and is hanging in the race.

Dobson highlighted John McCain's refusal to support a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage as his reason for backing Huckabee.

'I am deeply disappointed,' said Dobson, 'the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.'

© Lisa Keen. All rights reserved.

Romney Suspends

Campaign

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, 60, suspended his campaign for the White House.

The former Massachusetts governor said during the Feb. 7 announcement that ' [ i ] n this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This is not an easy decision. I hate to lose.' He also said that if he remained in the race, it would make 'it easier for [ Democratic candidates ] Sen. Clinton or Obama to win.'

Romney won almost 300 delegates through Feb. 5, known as Super Tuesday. Sen. John McCain, the GOP front-runner, garnered 697 despite the fact that Romney outspent him. Some speculated that Romney's number was diminished by the continued presence of Gov. Mike Huckabee, Romney's chief rival in gathering conservative votes. Huckabee won several southern states on Super Tuesday.

Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon released a statement shortly after Romney's announcement. 'Mitt Romney's decision to withdraw from the Presidential race was a smart one,' Sammon said. 'After Super Tuesday, it became clear that Mitt Romney had no chance to win the GOP nomination. ... In the end, voters did not find this version of Mitt Romney to be credible. Too many voters learned the truth about his record, and that record didn't match his new found conservative rhetoric.

'Today is a great day for the Republican Party. Nominating a candidate like Mitt Romney would have been a recipe for disaster in November and would have ensured a White House victory by the Democrats.

'Log Cabin is proud to have played an important role in sparing the party from a nominee like Mitt Romney.'

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