Vail Valley ‘superdelegate’ backs Obama | VailDaily.com
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Vail Valley ‘superdelegate’ backs Obama

Vail Daily file photoDebbie Marquez was a delegate for presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000. This year, she's a "super-delegate" and has pledged her vote to Sen. Barack Obama.
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EDWARDS, Colorado ” First, Hillary Clinton left her a voicemail. And, assuredly, it was not one of those robo-calls.

“I’ve had enough of those to know the difference,” Debbie Marquez said.

Then Bill called. The 42st president, renowned for his charisma and charm, chatted with Marquez for 45 minutes. She timed it.

“I got off the phone and looked at my timer and said, ‘Wow, I just talked to the former president for 45 minutes,'” Marquez said.

But even Bill Clinton could not get Marquez to come over to his wife’s side. Marquez’s support for her candidate, Barack Obama, remained steadfast.

Marquez, an Edwards resident, isn’t just your average Democratic voter. She’s a so-called “superdelegate,” and is free to support any candidate at this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.

With a close race shaping up in the Democratic primary, neither Clinton nor Obama will be able to win the nomination with pledged delegates alone. The winner will need the support of superdelegates.

That’s created some behind-the-scenes wrangling for the support of people such as Marquez, not to mention media scrutiny on the superdelegates. Marquez was heavily courted late last year after her first candidate of choice, Bill Richardson, dropped out of the race.

Regardless, Marquez says her allegiances are squarely with the junior senator from Illinois. And she sees no reason why that would change.

“We have got probably the best candidate for president that we might see in my lifetime,” Marquez said. “How many have people told me that Sen. Obama is the JFK or RFK of this time? And how long have we been waiting for that to happen in the Democratic Party?

“This is really a historic moment,” she said. “Fortunately, I get to have a front row seat.”

The Iraq war figures prominently in Marquez’s decision to back Obama. She objected to Hillary Clinton’s support of the war as a senator.

“The judgment of our senators is key to why we’re at war right now,” Marquez said. “Sen. Obama had the judgment to make a statement against the war.”

She also said she likes Obama’s support of tuition credits for college students.

Obama’s big win in the Democratic caucuses in Colorado last month girded her decision to back him, she said.

Marquez, whose family owns the popular Edwards restaurant Fiesta’s, was elected in 2004 as a Colorado Democratic National Committee member, which makes her a superdelegate ” one of 15 in the state. Other superdelegates include U.S. Rep. Mark Udall and Gov. Bill Ritter. Marquez has long been a leader in the Democratic Party, at both the local and state levels.

Marquez, who expects to see Obama win the nomination when she attends the convention this summer, said she’s ready for a new kind of president.

“We have an opportunity this year to select a president who won’t be doing business as usual,” she said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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