Clinton supporters say support for war hurt candidate

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(Kinzel) It was a disappointing night for the supporters of Senator Clinton, who were hoping for a much closer outcome.

A small group of campaign workers slowly filtered into Sweetwaters restaurant in downtown Burlington. The evening was essentially over before it started when the national networks called the race for Senator Obama one minute after the polls had closed here.

Why did Obama do so well? House Speaker Gaye Symington says Senator Clinton’s initial vote in late 2002 to authorize President Bush to use military force in Iraq was the key factor.

(Symington) "I do think that this state is so committed to engagement around the Iraq war I think that was an initial issue that really set a difference that couldn’t be overcome."

(Kinzel) Former Governor Madeleine Kunin is one of Clinton’s most visible supporters in the state. She says the national campaign blundered by not focusing on states that held primaries after Super Tuesday until it was too late to be effective.

(Kunin) "I think there was really no thought given to the fact that Vermont might be a battleground state and I think that was with hindsight a mistake."

(Kinzel) Kunin also thinks gender is an issue in this presidential campaign:

(Kunin) "I don’t think Hillary Clinton could have run a campaign, even if she’d wanted to, based simply on change. She had to establish her credentials as every woman does who applies for a job, and then you can play the more rhapsodic music."

(Kinzel) Kunin says she remains hopeful that Senator Clinton will continue to actively campaign at least through the Pennsylvania primary on April 22nd.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel.

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