On the Ground in Philadelphia, Day 2

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by David Safier

Safier_news Here’s your at-the-scene correspondent, giving you the news from Philadelphia.

Last night I ate at a 5-star restaurant. Washed my scampi down with a $300 cabernet. God, it’s great to be on the Blog for Arizona expense account! I’ll give you the receipts when I get back, Mike. (Mike? Are you there, Mike?)

I spent a few hours at the downtown Obama headquarters, phoning and writing letters. Because it was mid-day and mid-week, we were calling the 60-80 year old set, because they were most likely to be home. That’s Hillary country, and more people said they supported her than Barack. But a reasonably number were for Barack, and a surprising number were undecided. I expect the undecideds to go for Clinton when they hit the polls (though I may have convinced a few to lean toward Obama), but it’s encouraging that so many are ready to vote for either candidate, because it means that if (I mean, when) Obama is the candidate, it won’t be too hard for Clinton supporters to change sides.

The Philly papers played last night’s debate pretty evenly. They didn’t amplify the “gotcha” tone of the moderators, which is good, since the gotcha-over-substance quality of the questions was pretty vile. Maybe the media won’t be all Weatherman, all the time.

Img_16842_coverThe Weekly endorsed Obama, as did the tabloid-sized daily, the Philadelphia News. I don’t know if the major paper, the Enquirer, has endorsed. (This is the cover of the Philadelphia Weekly).

Friday, 6pm, there will be a big Obama rally in the area around Independence Hall. They’re hoping for a huge turnout, which is probable. The Philadelphia area belongs to Obama. Other parts of the state lean toward Clinton.

On another topic, two Philadelphia charter schools had their contracts taken away, for a variety of reasons having to do with student performance, fiscal reporting, etc. Another is being looked into for possible serious overcompensation of its CEO and his family. Those of you who have been around for awhile, when was the last time an Arizona charter school had its charter taken away? We have more charter schools than any state in the country — we gave away charters like free popcorn — and it’s unlikely that all of them are spending their money wisely and educating their students well. Yet we don’t hear about oversight, because there isn’t any. (Part of the reason for the careful oversight here is, the Philly schools were deemed so bad, they were taken over by the state a few years ago. So it makes sense they’d be keeping careful track of how things are going.)