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Politics & Government

Clinton Campaigns In Heavily Latino Populated San Antonio

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now let's turn to the presidential campaign here in America, where the Latino vote will be significant. Hillary Clinton rallied Latinos in San Antonio, Texas, yesterday, and NPR's Tamara Keith was there.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing in Spanish).

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Folklorico dancers entertained the crowd of about 2,500 people waiting for Clinton to take the stage. An accomplished young mariachi sang the national anthem.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Star-spangled banner yet wave...

KEITH: This wasn't just any Hillary Clinton campaign event. This was a Latinos for Hillary event. Brightly colored banners hung all around historic Sunset Station in San Antonio with the words La Hillary (speaking Spanish) -The Hillary, I Am with You.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: But I want you to know I am not just La Hillary. I'm also tu Hillary.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

KEITH: Not just The Hillary, but your Hillary. The San Antonio campaign stop was something of a homecoming for Clinton, who in 1972 spent three months in the city registering voters in support of the McGovern presidential campaign. In 2008, she won the Texas primary, but ended up losing the delegate race.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

CLINTON: I owe the people of South Texas a lot. You worked hard for me. I'm running for president to work hard for you.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Clinton was in San Antonio to collect the endorsement of Julian Castro, a member of President Obama's cabinet and the popular former mayor of San Antonio. He is a rising star in the Democratic Party, often talked about as a possible running mate for Clinton.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

JULIAN CASTRO: In 2016, the Latino community is going to play a critical role in electing our next president.

KEITH: And Clinton's campaign clearly sees Latinos as a key part of her coalition. San Antonio's population is more than 60 percent Hispanic.

CASTRO: In many ways, this city is a window into America's future.

KEITH: The primary in Texas is March 1, and once again, it will be a major prize. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders visited the state in July, holding two large rallies. He now has two paid staff on the ground in Texas building an organization. Clinton's campaign will, too, soon. Christopher Davis (ph) from Austin was at the Clinton event, but he told me before it started, he was still trying to decide between the two.

CHRISTOPHER DAVIS: If Hillary announces one of the Castro brothers as VP today, I'm definitely a Hillary supporter (laughter). But right now, I'm in between Bernie Sanders, of course, and Hillary Clinton.

KEITH: He says education is the most important issue for him in this campaign. That was a common theme in interviews with people attending the event, including Lisa Martinez (ph).

LISA MARTINEZ: Really just education is my main thing, just because I - as a single parent, I put myself through college. So that's one of the major things for me, even though I already graduated. It's just, you know, to help other people 'cause I know what it's like to be a single parent and not have a lot of resources to help yourself.

KEITH: Martinez had been leaning towards Sanders, but then her nine-year-old daughter Mackenzie (ph) encouraged her to learn more about Clinton's ideas.

MACKENZIE: She kept on trying. And I think she's a good role model, and she's my role model.

KEITH: Mackenzie convinced her mom to drive three hours to get to the rally. Tamara Keith, NPR News, San Antonio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.