So, is Barack Obama’s oratory skills and charm enough to break Hillary’s ironclad hold on people here?
Obama’s speech last night in midtown was sort of a litmus test.
Nalini Datwani, a conservatively dressed 55-year-old homemaker from Inglecliff, N.J. told me “that really got to me,” when Obama relayed a story about Bobby Kennedy visiting poor children in the 1960s. As an immigrant originally from India, poverty is something of a backyard issue, she said.
“Is poverty one of the issues Hillary brought to the forefront,” I asked.
“I really don’t know too much about Hillary. It’s just that she’s a woman that I would vote for her. I’ll be honest. But I like the way he spoke tonight, but I don’t know who I’ll support.”
My brief chat with Datwani is here.
David Jones, a 47-year-old limousine driver from Jamaica, Queens was decked out in a black tuxedo, and accompanied by a seemingly awestruck 29-year-old Nicole Hodges of Old Westbury, LI, who donned an off the shoulder black dress and half a bottle of body glitter.
“I’m more pro this guy,” Jones told me. “He’s bringing more insight, humanistic insight into what he stands for.”
Obama is “more genuine and [has] more feeling about what it is that he’s saying,” Hodges added. Hillary “comes across more cold.”
Later, [in an audio clip you can listen to here] Jones said Obama sounds like he’s in touch with ‘grassroots people” and “been amongst them, spoken to them, or heard their voices.”
As for Hodges, Hillary doesn’t get her vote just because she’s a woman.
“Now, I’m proud that she’s a woman and accomplishing these things. I can say, ‘wow, there’s a woman who is doing X, Y, Z and that’s amazing.’ But would I vote for her just because she’s a woman? No, and I don’t think she would want me to vote for her just because she’s a woman.”
From this highly unscientific sampling, it seems Obama can at least chip away Hillary’s support among African Americans and possibly at female voters too.
Which means we won’t stop writing about this match-up anytime soon.
(And the brand new Duracell batteries I bought at my local bodega died, so no pictures.)
— Azi Paybarah