Democrats come together for dinner

April 19, 2008 12:42:40 AM PDT
Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will make their final pitches to the voters of Pennsylvania this weekend. The outcome of the race could determine who becomes the Democratic Party's nominee. In San Jose Friday night, democrats were told no matter who wins, the party must unify.

More than 500 people attended the Santa Clara County annual Democratic Party dinner. While the dinner is usually a casual affair at this time of year, this one was given a theme due to the split in the party's support for a presidential candidate.

"The theme is really unity. We're really looking forward to the party making a decision as to who the candidate is going to be," said Steve Preminger, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party Chairman.

However, there is also concern among many of these democrats that the verbal barbs and accusations flying between the two candidates, are hurting the public's perception of the Democratic Party.

"The party needs to demonstrate to the people, that we are for them and by showing them that we are here for them we need to talk to the issues," said Lita Gutierrez, a Santa Clara County Democrat.

"I don't see it as a fight. I see it as a revelation to see where people stand," said Charles Alexander, a Santa Clara County Democrat.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen says these two powerful candidates have energized the party.

"Maybe if we didn't have a real contest this wouldn't be happening," said Bowen.

Senator Barack Obama appeared before the biggest rally of his campaign. 35,000 people greeted him in Philadelphia Friday night. Senator Hillary Clinton appeared in Radnor. Clinton wasted no time in criticizing Obama regarding Wednesday's debate.

"I'm with Harry Truman on this, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," said Clinton.

Obama received endorsements on Friday from former Senator Sam Nunn and former Oklahoma state Senator David Boren. While the Democratic Party is looking for unity, some Obama supporters aren't sure they'll support Clinton if she gets the nomination.

"I can't say I will. She would have to prove herself to me," said Loni Locketz, a Santa Clara County Democrat.

While some people here say the in-fighting is hurting, the part others say all of this, is toughening them up for the real presidential race.

Emily Thurber is the regional director for the Democratic Party.

"The nice thing is it's going to show Obama and Hillary how to respond to this. This is like a practice session," said Thurber.


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