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They Came, They Saw, They Campaigned

A New 'Hero' for D.C.

Former president Bill Clinton stumps for his wife during morning services at Temple of Praise Church in Southeast, where he spoke for 25 minutes Sunday.
Former president Bill Clinton stumps for his wife during morning services at Temple of Praise Church in Southeast, where he spoke for 25 minutes Sunday. (By Nikki Kahn -- The Washington Post)
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It has long seemed that the city needs a bona fide hero to step forward to help secure those long-sought voting rights in Congress.

Now, at last, one has.

According to Paul Strauss (D), the city's shadow senator, teen actress Hayden Panettiere, who plays Claire Bennet on the NBC series "Heroes," showed up at Obama's American University rally a couple weeks ago.

"She's agreed to do some voting rights work with us," said Strauss, who ran into her when he was pulled into a meeting with Obama and other District leaders.

Hmmm, the Notebook can see it now: Voting rights featured in a ripped-from-the-headlines "Heroes" episode with Adrian M. Fenty as the mayor with triathlete powers and the U.S. Senate as the force of evil that must be overcome.

Okay, so it's not exactly "The Wire," but we're trying.

Shadows in the Sun

Speaking of Paul Strauss, he and fellow shadow Sen. Michael D. Brown (D) have been enjoying a rare moment in the spotlight.

As part of the city's congressional shadow delegation, which includes shadow Rep. Mike Panetta (D), Strauss and Brown don't have a vote in Congress or an office on Capitol Hill. They are basically allowed to walk around and look busy.

But now they are much sought after, because they are superdelegates, that mysterious but suddenly important group of people whose votes could swing the Democratic presidential nomination.

Strauss and Brown, who have not yet endorsed a candidate, are finding themselves in much demand. They got face time with Obama at AU and made an appearance at a Hillary Clinton coffee chat at the National Council of Negro Women on Monday morning. (Panetta has endorsed Obama.) The two were disappointed they didn't get any one-on-one time with Clinton, but they spoke fondly of their meeting with Obama.

"Two of his campaign persons pulled the two of us out and made sure we got a few minutes alone with the senator," Strauss said.

"When you only get that vote once every four years, you've got to put some thought into it," Brown said. "We find ourselves, not only as superdelegates in a really unique position here, but I think as a city in a really unique position."

Birth of Potomac Primary

Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) has been on the stump.

No, not in his current reelection campaign. This week, Evans has been stumping for a little credit for getting the whole Potomac Primary deal off the ground.

According to Evans, Terry Lierman, former chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, contacted Evans, who in 2004 had helped orchestrate the District's non-binding first-in-the-nation primary aimed at drawing attention to the voting rights cause.

Lierman proposed to Evans, and then to council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), that the District combine its primary with those of Maryland and Virginia. They agreed.

Voila! The Potomac Primary concept was born, Evans said.


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