Born in Chicago, raised in Park Ridge, Hillary Clinton traveled to Bronzeville for a get out the vote rally in a room that was only half full.
She flew into Chicago as a new Quinnipiac University poll shows her race in the Democratic primary with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tightening nationally.
This Clinton crowd skewed older and that has even her strongest supporters concerned, offering some advice.
“If she can beef up her social media,” said supporter Veletta Ball, who admits she is concerned.
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“A lot of young voters lean to Bernie Sanders. Hillary needs to step it up,” echoed Barbara Cain.
“I won’t make promises I can’t keep,” Clinton told the crowd in a reference to Sanders.
That declaration appealed to Stanley Mathews whose grandchildren support Sanders call for a free college education.
“How’s he going to pay for it,” he says he tells his grandchildren.
Clinton’s South Side appearance before an overwhelmingly Black audience was with an eye to the South Carolina primary on February 27th, where a sizeable African-America voting block will make the difference.
The mother of Sandra Bland, the Chicago woman who died in a Texas jail, introduced Clinton, who condemned gun violence and the police shooting of LaQuan McDonald. Clinton was surrounded on stage by parents who lost children to shootings in Chicago.
Clinton’s loudest applause line however was the demand of equal pay for women.
And she dipped her toe into Illinois politics, generating a chorus of boos by mentioning Governor Bruce Rauner’s anti-union Turnaround agenda.
“His plan would turn Illinois around all the way to the robber barons,” she said.
Noticeably absent from the rally was Mayor Rahm Emanuel and for a number of people that was a good thing.
“I think its good he won’t be here. He’s embroiled in too much controversy right now. It won’t help her,” said Kathleen Humphries.
“The African-American community is not happy with his performance and we are not happy with his responses,” replied Veletta Ball.
Though the audience was small, Clinton’s take from three Chicago fundraisers is expected to be substantial for a race that could turn her own home state into Democratic battleground.