Local Democrats Take Sides

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With hours to go before for what could be their last debate in the race for the Democratic nomination, Clinton and Obama continue to line up support from local leaders. In a pair of dueling noontime events Monday, organizers for the competing candidates trotted out area mayors, commissioners and state reps in an attempt to lay claim to that elusive quality known as momentum in a tight contest. A dozen Obama supporters huddled on the wind-swept steps of Cleveland City Hall to proclaim their allegiance to the Illinois Senator.

PHYLLIS CLEVELAND: I'm Phyllis Cleveland and I stand here with a group of my colleagues, elected officials in the City and County, who are supporting Senator Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. (applause and cheers).

Most of those gathered with Phyllis Cleveland were colleagues on Cleveland City Council. Ward 18's Jay Westbrook said there's no discernible front runner among the Council members

JAY WESTBROOK: I would say it's almost a 50/50 split. It's a very amicable split. As avid Democrats, I think all of us are really pleased with both of the candidates.

In the meantime, his next door neighbor, Dona Brady of Ward 19, was appearing on the far Westside of town at the same time to pledge her support for Hillary Clinton.

DONA BRADY: Not only do I support Hillary because I believe she's the most prepared to be President, but I also support her because she has a specific plan.

On a day when two polls showed Barack Obama catching up to Hillary Clinton among Ohio voters, State Representative Tim DeGeeter said he was still solidly behind Clinton, though he qualified that support slightly in the name of party unity.

TIM DeGEETER: I think she gives us the best chance to win in November. And, should she not win in November --- which we hope will not be the case --- without question, the Democrats in Ohio will get behind our nominee 110%, to make sure that a Democrat is in the White House, come November.

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