01/10/07 — Who has a chance to get nod in 2008?

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Who has a chance to get nod in 2008?

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on January 10, 2007 1:54 PM

Black, white, woman or man -- to at least a handful of Goldsboro and Wayne County residents it doesn't really seem to matter what the next president of the United States looks like as long as he or she is qualified and is a change from the current administration.

"I think if they're qualified, that's the main thing I think we should look at. The way the country's going, I think it doesn't make a difference being black or a woman as long as they're qualified," Goldsboro resident Mac Eason, 42 and black, said. "I am glad to know, though, that John Edwards is running."

Goldsboro resident Edward Mooring, 46 and white, agreed with Eason's assessment: "I think it's possible (for a black man or a woman to be elected). I think if it was the right candidate, then yes."

Of course, he added, being of a more conservative nature, he doesn't think U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, or U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, are the right candidates.

"I always thought Colin Powell should run for president," he said.

For some, those attitudes are representative of how far America has come since the eras of Women's Suffrage and Civil Rights.

"My opinion is we've got to be ready. Sooner or later it's going to be a woman president, same with an African-American," Wayne County Democratic Party Chairman Gaspar Gonzalez said, declining to support one candidate or the other. "Everybody's got the right to run. One of the best things about being a democracy is we elect the people we feel can change the destiny of this nation, woman, African-American or Hispanic. I think this country's ready."

Still, with the 2008 election more than a year away, it's likely too early to tell who will win. It's probably even too early to tell who will be running.

But with a front-loaded primary schedule and the Iowa Caucus set for mid-January 2008, 2007 is expected to be a busy year of speculations, declarations and campaigns.

So far, only Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards -- all Democrats -- have declared their intentions to run.

Barack Obama, who is black, and Hillary Clinton, however, seem to be the Democrat front-runners.

"As for a woman being president, I don't know, but I'll put it this way," Wayne County Republican Party Chairman Ed Wharton said. "If Hillary Clinton gets the Democrat nomination, we'd better have a female on the Republican Party (ticket). But personally, I'd rather see two strong males running against each other. I don't think Hillary Clinton is the answer for North Carolina or the other 49 states.

"As for a black president, I guess we're ready. The country's changed a lot. People have changed right here. They're more open. There's a whole lot better chance than in the past.

"But I don't see how Barack Obama can get anywhere. He's only been in the Senate two years and he doesn't have the experience. But then again, I didn't think people would be as foolish to vote as many conservative Republicans out of Congress as they did."

Wharton also doesn't think that John Edwards will get the nomination.

"I think what he's looking at is another shot at running for vice president," he said.

On the Republican side, while nobody has formally declared his candidacy, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guliani and Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel all are being bandied about as possible front-runners for the party's nomination.

"Romney's probably the most conservative we have," Wharton said. "(George) Allen probably had a good chance, but not anymore after losing the Senate race and I have a problem with both (Guiliani and McCain). They're too liberal. But if they get the nod, we'll be supporting them. Any Republican running will have more knowledge of what we need in this country than anybody they've got out there."