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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Obama conforte son avance

by Jacques Coubard

Obama Strengthens His Lead

Translated Saturday 23 February 2008, by John O’Neil

United States. The 5 March primaries promise to be decisive.

With a tenth consecutive primary victory, Barack Obama has taken the lead over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Counting the possible delegates and superdelegates, Obama has 1,276 votes versus Clinton’s 1,220.

The decision could be reached on 5 March, in Texas and Ohio, where Hillary Clinton’s numbers are eroding day by day. The former first lady formerly had unquestionable support in the trade unions and with Hispanics, but the recent opinion polls show that they are now leaning toward the candidate of "hope."

In front of 20,000 people in Houston on the evening of 19 February Obama did not forget to thank two of the most important unions in Texas, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Food and Commercial Workers, for their support.

A handicap that Hillary Clinton is trying to fill, insisting that the Illinois senator’s program lacks credible solutions which would put an end to the suffering of the 47 million citizens who do not have health insurance among others. She says he makes promises that are not backed with specific proposals.

Hillary Clinton is pursuing campaign themes of effective programs and experience, an experience that has not left only good memories, and which has little effect on Democrats lifted by the Obama wave. A New York Times reporter dubbed him the "pope of hope" in opposition to everything that the past represents.

Acclaimed like a preacher in Houston and interrupted by the crowd saying "Yes, we can" which has become his campaign slogan, Obama took up once again the well-worn refrain in American political life, that Washington DC, the seat of power, is responsible for everything that has gone wrong. "The problem is that we haven’t had leaders who can inspire the American people to rally behind a common purpose." This is a central theme in the Obama camp which wants to bring "moderate Republicans" on board.

John McCain, after his recent primary success is assured to be the Republican candidate in spite of the pressure of the religious right who have rallied behind Huckabee and find McCain insufficiently conservative.

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