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Clinton, Obama Shift from Heated to Warm


NPR's David Greene and Don Gonyea have been traveling with the two candidates all week and join us now. Hello.

DON GONYEA: Hi, Renee.


MONTAGNE: So both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton wake up this morning here in Los Angeles having had their debate last night, where do they go from here? And, David, let's start with you.

GREENE: Well, Clinton is actually staying put. She's doing events today and tomorrow in San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles - California, a really important state for her. I think she wants to wrap up as many delegates as she possibly can - New York her home state another delegate rich state that she's hoping to win.

GONYEA: Yeah. And if there's a sense that Hillary Clinton has an edge in California and New York - the big Super Tuesday states - Senator Obama is going elsewhere - New Mexico, for a couple of events today; Boise, Idaho, tomorrow. Also, over the weekend, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Chicago, then more next week.

MONTAGNE: And looking back to last night in the debate, it was cordial, friendly, a lot of smiles during this particular debate. Do we expect that to continue as the candidates go back to their respective campaign trail?

GONYEA: So, it seems likely that such pointed comments will continue. I mean, the debate was downright chummy, it seemed. But there they are sitting side by side, elbow to elbow. And it's a lot easier to really go after your opponent and not come across as too aggressive or something worse when you're on the road all by yourself. It's part of a stump speech and you've got thousands of supporters cheering you on.

GREENE: You know, it's funny, we were watching the debate last night, and, Don, you'll probably agree with me. It would seem these two candidates were so friendly and cordial, but my e-mail inbox and my BlackBerry was just filling up with really tough and sharp e-mails from the campaigns going after the other candidate all night long.

GONYEA: It was overload. You couldn't read them all and watch the debate at the same time.

GREENE: So, she seems to be much more positive on the campaign trail. Bill Clinton has been more subdued. And I think the challenge for Hillary Clinton is to try and paint Barack Obama as a novice and paint him as the less experienced candidate without tearing him down. And it's a tough balance to find.

MONTAGNE: So, given that the candidates are headed out now, up and down California, in Hillary Clinton's case, and across the country for both of them, they'll be needing to run campaign ads in all of these states. This is got to be getting awfully expensive, but I think these candidates have plenty of cash on hand.

GONYEA: It's going to cost a lot of money, and they have a lot of money. We just found out overnight that Senator Obama raised $32 million in January alone, that compares to what we thought was a big figure - 23 million for the entire fourth quarter of last year.

GREENE: And we don't know about January numbers for Hillary Clinton yet, Renee, but she raised a bit more than Obama in the fourth quarter of last year, about 27 million. And she has about $38 million on hand right now.

MONTAGNE: Thank you both very much.

GONYEA: It's a pleasure.

GREENE: Thank you, Renee.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Don Gonyea and David Greene in Los Angeles. They are traveling with the Democratic presidential candidates. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Renee Montagne
Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.
Don Gonyea
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
David Greene
David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.