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Democrats caucus in capital to support President Obama for a second term


By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Nearly 250 capital city Democrats took time out today to participate in the party caucus, supporting President Barack Obama in a process that held no surprises for the party faithful.

The caucus at the Carson City Middle School was one of 118 held around Nevada today as the state Democrat Party gears up for the 2012 election.

Carson Democrat caucus leader Marty McGarry reviews the process for participants. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Unlike 2008, when the Democrat nominee was still undecided at the time of the caucus, the nonbinding ballot had two options: the president or uncommitted. Obama was getting strong support among participants.

The Nevada State Democratic Party reported that with 90 percent of precincts reporting, more than 98 percent, or 12,000 participants, supported the president.

Republicans will hold their Nevada caucus on Feb 4. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to be the favorite. He won handily here in 2008.

Life-long Democrat James Stevenson, 75, said he came out to support the president because of concerns that Republicans want to cut back on Medicare and other benefits Americans worked for.

“The Republican Party is trying to blackmail the middle class in this country,” he said. “They have threatened to take our Medicare away, which we pay for ourselves, they don’t pay for it. They want to get rid of the unions because the unions are the backbones of the middle class.”

“People have to wake up to what’s going on in this country,” Stevenson said.

The Democrat party used to stand up to the rich and the greedy, he said. The party today does not seem to be doing that, Stevenson said.

The Democratic Party is using Republican proposals to make cuts to Medicare benefits a major campaign issue. Republicans counter they are trying to make reasonable reductions in spending on Medicare and other entitlements to address the spiraling federal deficit.

Caucus participant Charlie Muller reviews the rules. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Jean Lea, 78, said she came out to support the president even though she hasn’t always voted for the party’s presidential nominee. Lea said she voted for Obama in 2008 and will likely do so again this year.

“My feeling is if I don’t come down and do this I have absolutely no recourse during the next four years to say my piece against or for legislation or anything else,” she said. “If you don’t vote keep your mouth shut.”

Rachel Sigman, an Obama volunteer, urged those attending to get started early in supporting the president’s re-election bid.

It seems as if there is more at stake in 2012 than there was in 2008, she said.

The caucus was the first step in the process of selecting delegates to attend the National Democratic Convention in September. Nevada will send 44 delegates to the convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Audio clips:

James Stevenson says Republicans are threatening the middle class:

012112Stevenson :25 the middle class.”

Jean Lea says if you don’t participate you have no right to complain:

012112Lea :20 your mouth shut.”

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