Saturday, February 9, 2008

Volunteer spat at Virginia's Jefferson-Jackson dinner

RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) – Oh, what a tangled web political endorsements weave.

Volunteers for Hillary Clinton's campaign in Virginia, who are taping up Clinton signage for tonight's Jefferson-Jackson dinner here, are groaning to state Democratic party officials that Barack Obama's volunteers corps has more hands on deck for the event this evening because, team Clinton claims, volunteers for Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine are also here working on Obama's behalf.

Kaine endorsed Obama last year and will likely speak glowingly about him tonight, but the Obama and Clinton campaigns reached an agreement to only allow a fixed number of volunteers into the event site to put up signs before a security sweep of the area. Gov. Kaine's supporters were not, apparently, factored into the rules.

The Clinton volunteers said they saw Kaine staff and volunteers putting up "a few" Obama signs. However, CNN spied another Kaine staffer who was taping up Clinton signs. And despite their boss's preference, Kaine's staffers, including many of the men and women who worked on his 2005 campaign, are split between supporting Obama and Clinton.

The Clinton volunteers eventually wrangled in four more of their people to make up for the crucial sign-taping disparity. They appeared to be closing the gap as security entered to examine the event site, Virginia Commonweath University's basketball arena.

Ultimately, former Gov. Mark Warner, now the front-running candidate to fill John Warner's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat, is winning the "visibility" game: he has more signs up than anybody.