Clinton makes quick sales call to isles
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton called Hawaii yesterday.
The Democratic candidate for president spent 10 minutes talking to reporters in a call from San Antonio.
Clinton spent five minutes reading from a news release about her "solutions for Hawaii" plan. The former first lady then answered three questions.
Clinton said she was in favor of the native Hawaiian sovereignty bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka; she vowed to support sustained funding for Hawaii's defense industry; and she said Honolulu's mass transit funding application was a good idea and that she would support it.
Clinton is expected to repeat the campaign exercise today in a series of video phone calls to local television stations.
The call was made to drum up support for Clinton's campaign, which faces a severe test next week in Hawaii.
The Democratic Party caucus will be held Tuesday. It gives registered Democrats a chance to vote for their choice for president. Twenty Democratic delegates to the national convention will be apportioned according to the vote on Tuesday.
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is considered the favorite in the race because he was born in Hawaii, graduated from Punahou School and has developed a strong grass-roots campaign in the last year.
Clinton ended her short news conference yesterday acknowledged that her Hawaii campaign will be difficult.
"I know we face an uphill battle in the state, but we plan to run a vigorous and successful campaign," Clinton said, adding that she was proud of the support she had from U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and the Hawaii Government Employees Association.
Before Clinton spoke to the media, she was introduced by Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who said Clinton's campaign specifics would help Hawaii.
In her release, Clinton said she would "reduce Hawaii's dependence on foreign oil, address global warming, help Hawaii's small businesses pay for their employee's health care costs and provide additional resources to address Hawaii's teacher shortage."
Clinton said her universal health care plan would cover "the nearly 110,000 people in Hawaii who do not have coverage today."
Clinton also promised to give a tax credit for small businesses for providing health care coverage.
The release noted that Clinton "has had a long-standing relationship with the people of Hawaii. Since 1993 she has visited the state five different times."
In response to the news media questions, Clinton said she is in strong support of the Akaka Bill, now stalled in the Senate. "It remedies a long history of problems," Clinton said.
"I supported the apology resolution, and you can count on me as president," Clinton said.
Democratic opponent Obama has also promised to support the Akaka Bill.
She also said she would want to continue military spending in Hawaii, saying, "Military spending will be maintained because we have to support national defense priorities."
Clinton campaign plans isle trip for Chelsea
The local campaign for Sen. Hillary Clinton is expecting Chelsea Clinton to spend up to three days in Hawaii campaigning for her mother before Tuesday's Hawaii Democratic caucus.
According to a campaign source, Chelsea Clinton is expected to arrive tomorrow and spend two days campaigning on Oahu with a final rally Sunday on Maui. Clinton campaign officials say they hope to have her attend the Maui rally with Sen. Daniel Inouye, honorary chairman of the local campaign.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, Clinton campaign spokeswoman, would not comment on the travel plans of Chelsea, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Clinton, but she did say that the expected trip would be a plus for the campaign. "We are hoping to show the ties between the Clintons and Hawaii. There are places they like when they come here, and there are places that she visited with her mother," Hanabusa said.
-- Richard Borreca, Star-Bulletin