this week’s ralphie report…

this should explain the madness involving senators clinton and obama.

exclusive obama content will be linked up after a little siesta today. visit if you are impatient.

The green placards with white lettering were clear, but you didn’t have to spot one to understand the message. Northeast PA is “Clinton Country”. Last Saturday, Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton turned all of downtown Scranton into her City Hall.

But don’t worry, her opponent, Senator Barack Obama, isn’t ready to concede NEPA just yet.

Clinton walked the entire route – over 3,000 feet – flanked by Governor Ed Rendell and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty. The entourage traveled with a Secret Service motorcade on all sides, and the Bricklayers Union International following it all.

Senator Obama didn’t walk in the parade; however Max Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, represented him.

But it was Senator Clinton who crisscrossed Wyoming, Lackawanna, and North Washington – signing autographs, posing for cell phone photos, and hugging supporters. She engaged the tens of thousands, bluntly pleading, “I need you! I need you!” as she made impressions with the young and old.

“It feels great to be back, I love being in Scranton,” Senator Clinton told me in between shaking hands in front of the reviewing station. Clinton, like me, walked in the parade for her first time Saturday.

The presidential candidate wasn’t the only politician exuberant with the Electric City.

“I was in Pittsburgh, and that parade was high-spirited and well-attended,” said a semi-exhausted Governor Rendell, who walked in both parades alongside Senator Clinton. “But (the Scranton parade) was off the charts.”

Many young voters are backing Obama. His supporters were active and vocal. The younger activists held signs that read, “O’Bama” and screamed his name in competitions with chants of “Hil-a-ry!”

On Monday, the Junior Senator from Illinois gave his supporters another reason to chant. Obama greeted supporters for about a half-hour inside Whistles Pub & Grill on Monday.

“Hey, how’s everyone doing? Next round’s on me!” Obama enthusiastically shouted to the crowd, standing room only in the front section of the bar.

Then the “Barack-star” did what he does best – conversing with older women, consoling a veteran without disability, and taking photos with wide-eyed teenagers.

“I love Scranton!” Obama replied when asked about the area. “I wish I could just sit here and have a pint, not campaign too much. But I have work to do.”

After the meet-and-greet, Senator Obama ducked into the back room of Whistles. MTV News taped a town hall meeting with Obama and young war veterans, moderated by Sway. The event will be aired on MTV Thursday night. Later in the evening, the Democratic delegate leader spoke inside The Radisson at The Society of Irish Women’s annual dinner.

This certainly won’t be the last we see of either candidate or their family in NEPA. President Bill Clinton is scheduled to host a late afternoon rally inside James M. Coughlin Junior/Senior High School on Wednesday. Meanwhile Obama supporters believe he’ll return to the area as Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary date nears.

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