- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2008

LEXINGTON, S.C. — Sen. Barack Obama is trying to figure out who is his main rival here: former President Bill Clinton who stumped for his wife in South Carolina yesterday or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton who was in California.

Mrs. Clinton’s move raised questions about whether she is conceding Saturday’s Democratic presidential primary to Mr. Obama of Illinois, who is ahead in the polls and is expected to ride to victory with the black vote, which makes up as much as 50 percent of the party’s electorate. Mr. Obama won 84 percent of the black vote in Nevada.

“We’re not conceding a single vote in this state. We have run an aggressive ground game for months now, and we expect to do well in South Carolina” said Zac Wright, the Clinton campaign’s South Carolina spokesman.

He said enthusiasm about Mrs. Clinton’s commitment here has been tremendous and that Mr. Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton would be in the state throughout the week.

Heading into the Nevada caucuses last week, Mr. Obama traveled to neighboring California to campaign for a few days, but Mrs. Clinton, of New York, is traveling about 3,000 miles and won’t return to South Carolina until tomorrow. She was using the trip to reintroduce herself to voters in California, New Mexico and New Jersey.

Democratic analyst Donna Brazile said no one should draw any conclusions about that decision other than that all the candidates have to look toward “Super Tuesday” Feb. 5.

“She is running a 50-state campaign, and the process is that the candidates have to make up a lot of ground as they begin to move to February 5, and California has the most delegates at stake,” she said.

Miss Brazile said Mr. Obama needs to focus on his message and competing for “real” Democrats.

At a campaign stop in Greenwood, Mr. Obama noted that the global stock market dipped for a second day. He said foreign countries are anticipating a U.S. recession that Congress has not acted to stop.

“What started as a crisis in the housing market has now spilled over to the rest of the economy. Banks are facing a credit crunch, leaving businesses with less money to invest and more Americans unable to get loans,” Mr. Obama said.

“People have less money to spend, higher bills to pay and fewer opportunities for work.”

He touted his plan to extend unemployment insurance immediately, give working families a $500 tax cut and add a $250 supplement to the Social Security checks of seniors, as the “quickest way to help people pay their bills and get them to start spending.”

But he also continued to attack Mrs. Clinton in much the same way she has attacked him.

“When Senator Clinton first released her economic stimulus plan, she didn’t think that workers or seniors needed immediate tax relief. She thought it could wait until things got worse. Five days later, the economy didn’t really change, but the politics apparently did, because she changed her plan to look just like mine,” he said.