Long lines, but no shortage of enthusiasm

Big crowd greets Clinton in Portage
2008-05-01T00:00:00Z Long lines, but no shortage of enthusiasmJEFF BURTON
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PORTAGE | Supporters lined up hours before the doors opened Wednesday morning, waiting to get a glimpse of Hillary Clinton.

A line of at least 1,000 people weaved through the parking lot and cars filled every space along Ind. 149, but despite the line, most still were enthusiastic.

Tiffany Hamilton, of Chesterton, said she knew early in the race Clinton was the one for her. Waiting in line with her 1-year-old daughter, Lilly, Hamilton said she was interested in hearing about policies that will shape her daughter's future.

"It's definitely a concern," she said.

Unlike most in line, Lois Quay won't be casting any ballot next week. The St. Joseph, Mich., resident voted in her state's January primary, which violated Democratic National Committee rules. That primary was held too early. Despite that, she's still hopeful her vote will somehow count and help give Clinton the party's nomination.

"I think she's a very intelligent woman, she means what she's saying, and she's got a lot of experience," Quay said. "Obama wants to make a change and that doesn't happen overnight."

Two lines into the building, one for invited guests and another for the general public, caused some initial confusion.

Marilyn Feczko, of Hobart, didn't find out she was in the VIP line until she was close to the front of it. Still, the mix-up didn't affect her enthusiasm for Clinton.

Rachel Jackson, of Valparaiso, was slightly less than solid in her support for the senator and former first lady.

"I think in the primary it will be Hillary. After that, she has to win me over," Jackson said.

Paul Sams, of Chesterton, retired 12 years ago, after 32 years in the steel industry. He said he's voting for Clinton because of her stance on issues important to him. That sentiment was echoed by Vanessa Claudio, of Portage, who said Clinton's views on health care and employment hit home.

"My father is a millwright, and he's been in danger before," Claudio said. "I like what she had to say."

After the speech, Lake Station resident Detlev Knappe said he liked that Clinton sees a future for Social Security.

"I'm going to be eligible for it in about five more years. That's why I came," he said.

Elaine Harris, of Portage, was one of the hundreds of people who worked their way through the crowd after the speech and got a chance to meet Clinton, albeit briefly. Arlene Clem, also of Portage, wasn't so lucky, but said there are other priorities at the moment.

"It's much more important that every one of these people gets out there and gives her their votes," Clem said.

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