Chelsea woos gay voters in tight Pennsylvania race

Ann Turner April 22, 2008
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Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton spent this past weekend campaigning for her mother Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania in a most unusual fashion.

Accompanied by Governor Ed Rendell, Chelsea Clinton trolled through Philadelphia on a gay bar crawl, posing for photos and shaking hands with supporters.

In what may be one of the most unique campaign tactics yet employed in the hotly contested Democratic race, the Clinton family targeted one of their most valuable weapons straight toward the heart of the gay community on Friday.

Surrounded by a moving crowd of admirers, Chelsea walked through the streets of Centre City in Philadelphia, visiting four gay bars along the way to shake hands and chat about her mother’s campaign.

Outside of the Tavern bar, patrons shouted “You’re gorgeous, baby!” and “We love your highlights!” as Chelsea exited on her way to another gay club. “Thank you,” she replied, “but that’s not why you should vote for my mom.”

According to the Washington Post, Governor Ed Rendell has a tradition of touring the most popular gay clubs in Philadelphia before elections.

For this round, Rendell invited Chelsea Clinton to crawl the bars with him to speak to LGBT community members.

At one point in the evening, Chelsea stopped in the middle of Carmac street to talk to the gathered crowd about her mother’s stance on education policy.

“We need your help,” Chelsea told the crowd. “You got it,” one vocal supporter shouted back.

“The gay community has great feelings toward the [former] president and Hillary and they happen to love Chelsea,” Rendell said, according to the Washington Post.

“These are important voters, they’re smart, they’re sophisticated and they turn out in large numbers and always have,” Rendall said of the LGBT community.

Chelsea Clinton has been a vital contributor to her mother’s run for the presidency, lending the campaign a softer, family feel and rallying younger voters to the Clinton cause.

Her quiet, but determined presence on the campaign trail has been largely regarded as a significant positive asset in her mother’s quest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Thus, some might question why, on the eve of one of the most important primaries in the nation so far, Chelsea Clinton would forgo stumping to the mainstream voting audience to get up close and personal with Philadelphia’s gay community.

The answer may simply be that with the Pennsylvania primary almost certainly already in the bag, the Clinton campaign can afford to spare Chelsea to bolster her reputation as a LGBT-supportive candidate.

The most recent polls from Pennsylvania still give Clinton a strong lead over rival Illinois Senator Barack Obama and it is highly unlikely he will pull a surprise upset in the state.

Obama himself has already practically conceded the contest, telling the Associated Press that he is “not predicting a win,” though he believes his campaign will “do a lot better than people expect.”

Although the tone of Chelsea’s message to the LGBT community about her mother’s campaign for the White House was serious, the evening out at Philadelphia’s gay bars was a thrilling bit of fun for some witnesses to the event.

“I grabbed her ass,” one recipient of a hug from Chelsea shouted to the crowd, prompting laughter from the former first daughter and her escorts. Another person who received a hug, local Christopher Murray, said “I think Chelsea looks better in person and she’s got the body and ass of life,” according to

© 2008; All Rights Reserved

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