CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Chelsea Clinton stopped yesterday to take a photograph with Amy Suzuki and her grandson Jordan Shiroma, 2, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Clinton is in Hawaii campaigning for her mother, Sen. Hillary Clinton, before the Democratic caucuses on Tuesday.
Chelsea campaigns as Obama camp plans
People flock to take pictures with the former first daughter
STORY SUMMARY »
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton blitzed through Honolulu yesterday, eating at Zippy's, riding a trolley and taking pictures and shaking hands with hundreds of people, encouraging them to turn out and vote for her mother during the state Democratic Party caucuses Tuesday night.
But supporters of Hawaii-born Barack Obama were also in the crowds and his campaign continued its grass-roots effort to turn out its vote.
Thousands of people are expected at the caucuses.
Party leaders say the unprecedented turnout could be the best of times or the worst of times for the volunteers running the meetings and for the Democratic Party.
A training session was held last night at party headquarters in the Ward Warehouse.
"There'll be a lot of people who have never been in the caucus before, a lot of people we're going to be registering as a party member," said Amy Agbayani, a volunteer at the training session. "It will be very exciting and interesting, but at the same time confusing. We hope that everybody will be patient because the whole thing is run by volunteers."
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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Chelsea Clinton, center, ordered lunch yesterday with Henry Chang, left, and Liana Hofschneider at Zippy's at the Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai. Clinton and her family ate there in 1993 when her father was president.
Chelsea Clinton ate Zippy's chili and shook hands with hundreds of people, urging them to vote for her mother, while U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's sister met with supporters on Maui and said she's not taking Tuesday's Democratic caucuses for granted.
With just two days to go before Tuesday's caucuses and 20 delegates up for grabs, both campaigns are using family members to drum up media coverage and interest in Tuesday night's state Democratic Party meetings.
The Hawaii caucuses normally get little attention because the state's small number of voters normally don't play a role in selecting the nominee of either party. But because of the tight race, Tuesday's presidential preference poll will determine how 20 of Hawaii's 29 delegates are distributed, and that could make a difference.
Hillary Clinton's 27-year-old daughter, Chelsea, began her busy day with a visit to the Kapiolani Community College farmers market, followed by a trolley tour, a health care meeting at the Capitol, lunch at Zippy's in Hawaii Kai, more hand-shaking at the Great Aloha Run expo, and greeting volunteers at the "Hawaii For Hillary" phone bank.
Meanwhile, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's half sister, flew to Maui for a meeting with supporters and gave a speech at a campaign luncheon.
Clinton's visit to the farmers market excited regular customers like 86-year-old Kikue Takagi, a longtime admirer of the Clintons.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mary Chan, second from right, threw her arms in the air yesterday in reaction to news from an operator on speakerphone that a phone call from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to Democratic Party of Hawaii headquarters had to be postponed until today. Obama was in Milwaukee at the time.
Meeting the former first daughter was a privilege, she said.
"The fact that she's a woman, it gives me hope," Takagi said of Hillary Clinton. "Even if she doesn't win, and I hope she does, she's paved the way for many people."
Obama supporters with signs also showed up at the farmers market.
Isaac Gillette, owner of Keopu Coffee, sold a pound of his beans to Clinton yesterday. She left him a $2 tip.
"I hate to say it, after how nice Chelsea was, but I'm actually a Barack Obama supporter," Gillette said. "One of his strengths is that he comes across as very powerful and honest."
Clinton didn't give any speeches or talk to media during her whirlwind tour, but she brought some star power to the campaign, and people flocked to take their picture with her.
Clinton had lunch at Zippy's at the Koko Marina Shopping Center, where she and her family ate in 1993 when her father was president. He ordered a burrito with chili. Yesterday, she ordered a vegetarian chili without rice and a side of vegetables.
Both campaigns also battled this weekend for endorsements from local Democratic politicians.
Eleven local lawmakers endorsed Hillary Clinton on Friday.
Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced that 23 local lawmakers are supporting Obama.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Chelsea Clinton signed an autograph yesterday for a supporter at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
"People say to me, 'What does it mean if Obama is elected president?'" Abercrombie said. "It means Christmas White House will be in Hawaii."
During yesterday's event state Rep. Tom Brower (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana) said he plans to introduce a nonbinding resolution on Tuesday. The resolution asks that the votes of Hawaii's nine superdelegates should reflect the caucus votes, no matter who it favors.
"Should it go to the convention, we want to make sure that Hawaii's superdelegates proportionally reflect what the people's will on Tuesday," Brower said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.