Clinton: Rival Obama Is a 'Blank Screen'

It's doubtful that the Clinton road map to the presidency included a pit stop in Pomeroy, Ohio, a small town nestled in the Appalachian foothills.

In the entire county, there are only 2,500 registered Democratic voters.

But now that the race for the nomination has come down to Ohio and Texas, every single vote counts.

With so much at stake, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton spent the morning in Bryan Holman's trailer. Three generations of this Ohio family gathered to welcome Clinton, her daughter, Chelsea, and the state's popular governor, Ted Strickland, who has endorsed Clinton for president.

Even though there may only be a few possible votes up for grabs in this group, Clinton relishes the chance to talk concretely about the real problems in their lives — a lack of affordable health insurance, skyrocketing gas prices and a tough job market.


"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden sat down for an exclusive interview with Clinton in Ohio to discuss her anti-poverty policy and the tightening race for the nomination.

Continuing the 'War on Poverty'

Appalachian Ohio is a place where poverty blankets the air, at nearly twice the national average. It's the same region where more than 40 years ago, President Johnson declared his so-called 'War on Poverty."

That is why Clinton focused her campaigning here on childhood poverty, unveiling her own anti-poverty plan.

"Well, I'm focusing in particular on child poverty, because I think it's a disgrace that we have so many poor children," she said. "And I would like to see us end childhood hunger by 2012, and I'd like to see us cut childhood poverty in half by 2020."

She says the country can reach these goals by prioritizing how money is spent in Washington. "You know, there is so much waste and giveaways that go to people who are wealthy and well-connected or are a result of the government, frankly, not being held accountable and being very efficient."

About 45 minutes down the road from Pomeroy, in Gallia County, Clinton was greeted like a rock star by patrons at a Bob Evans Restaurant. Going behind the front counter of the restaurant, she said jokingly, "I was going to take a few orders in case this other endeavor doesn't work out."

A 'Hectic and Grueling' Campaign

"Nightline" asked the senator how she was faring during a tough campaign.

"I'm having a terrific time. I mean, from the outside, campaigns look as hectic and grueling as they are. But, on the inside, it's a really intimate experience in a lot of ways," she said. "You feel like you're invited into people's lives in a way that is very precious to me."

The race for the nomination is tightening. Just three months ago, ABC News polls indicated Clinton leading party rival Illinois Sen. Barack Obama by 30 points. It's now neck and neck.

Clinton says she stays upbeat. "Well, I never believed those polls," she said. "I don't pay attention to polls.  I mean, I try very hard to stay focused on what I'm touching and I'm feeling and I'm learning, because I have found, over many years, that that gives me a better sense."

By 2 p.m., the campaign had arrived in Hanging Rock.  Unlike the stadium events, where Obama thrives, Clinton prefers smaller, more intimate settings. That is when her voice gets softer and her message more personal.

She spoke to parents and then handed out snacks to children in a Head Start classroom, comfortable, she says, as head of the class, but not head of the pack.

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