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Hillary Clinton Counts On Texas Ties To Bring In A Super Tuesday Win


They say everything is bigger in Texas. That's certainly true when it comes to Super Tuesday. One of the 12 states holding presidential nominating contests on Tuesday - tomorrow - Texas has the most delegates at stake. NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports from Dallas about the two Democrats vying for those votes.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Hillary Clinton didn't make it to the Lone Star State last week but sent instead an able surrogate.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: William Jefferson Clinton.


PHARRELL WILLIAMS: (Singing) It might seem crazy, what I'm about to say.

GOODWYN: The predominately black Paul Quinn College in South Dallas also serves a growing population of immigrants. Standing before a sea of upturned faces of color, the 42nd president of the United States pushed back against the Republican narrative that America was in the toilet.


BILL CLINTON: I noticed one of the presidential candidates on the other side said that he wanted to be president so he could make America great again.


CLINTON: Well, let me tell you something. You listen to the stories of the immigrants that are here and what they've made of their lives, America never stopped being great. We just need to make America whole again.


CLINTON: America for everybody again.


CLINTON: That's what we need to do.

GOODWYN: The Clintons have a political history in Texas that stretches back to the early 1970s, when Hillary Clinton registered voters for presidential candidate George McGovern in the Rio Grande Valley. And the cultivation of political relationships in Texas never waned. While Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, Ann Richards was governor of Texas. And the two charismatic, progressive Southerners were natural friends and political allies. In 2006, the former president spoke at Richard's funeral, tears running down his face while he escorted her flag-draped casket into the Capitol rotunda in Austin. The campaign is banking that 40 years of history with the black and Hispanic communities here is going to carry the day for Hillary Clinton. Marlon Marshall is a Clinton campaign director.

MARLON MARSHALL: If we keep doing what we have been doing and talking about her vision for the country moving forward, we're going to be just fine.

GOODWYN: But Bernie Sanders has not given up on Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: (Speaking Spanish).


GOODWYN: In a surprise last-minute visit to Dallas and Austin on Saturday, Sanders flexed his rock star muscles as thousands of Democrats rushed to see him.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Here he is, a true fighter, a true democracy man, the people's president, Bernie Sanders.


GOODWYN: It was true when Obama first campaigned in Texas in 2008 and is often the case when northern liberals first experience the breadth and depth of left-wing yearning in Texas. Sanders was a bit amazed.


BERNIE SANDERS: This is a large, loud and raucous crowd.


GOODWYN: Sanders immediately took on the Republican leadership in Texas for enacting some of the strictest voter ID constraints in the country.


SANDERS: Now, in a democracy people can disagree. But what a governor or a legislature cannot do is try to make it harder for people to vote because they may vote against you.


SANDERS: If you don't have the guts to participate in a free and fair election, get another job. Get out of politics.


GOODWYN: But if the polls are an indication, Sanders has a steep hill to climb in Texas. They show Clinton with anywhere from a 10 to 30-point lead. Cal Jillson is a political science professor at SMU who's been following the race.

CAL JILLSON: Young people like Bernie. Young women like Bernie. Austinites, you know, sort of dyed-in-the-wool liberals like Bernie as well. But the question really is, how does he do in the major cities? He needs to be able to cut into some of Clinton's minority vote if he's going to be in this thing for the long haul.

GOODWYN: If the margin of Clinton's victory runs deep into the double digits, it will be a reflection of her political strength and the trust she's engendered here in a state where many Democratic voters have known her and her husband for most of their lives. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Wade Goodwyn is an NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.

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