Street likely to endorse Clinton on today's visit

Posted: July 02, 2007

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) continues to dominate national polls that gauge voter preference among Democratic presidential candidates – though she has work to do in Iowa – and her campaign is now putting the hammer down for endorsements.

She needs the perception of inevitability.

Clinton is scheduled to stop at City Hall today to receive Mayor Street's endorsement, said a source close to her campaign. Though Street is a lame duck with an anemic popularity rating, his support can only help Clinton in her battle for African American votes. Democratic contender Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is seeking to be the first African American president. Street's endorsement is "a huge thing," said another source close to the Clinton campaign.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz and Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham also are expected to endorse Clinton at the 11 a.m. event.

The former first lady will be in town to address the National Education Association convention and to attend a candidates' forum at Bright Hope Baptist Church sponsored by the activist group ACORN.

- Thomas Fitzgerald

Surplus for Saidel

Former mayoral candidate Jonathan Saidel, who abruptly quit the race in December, is still sitting atop $700,000 in cash, records show.

And that's after Saidel, five days before the May 15 primary, made one of the biggest contributions this campaign season by giving $100,000 to the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee.

In fact, that tidy sum accounted for all but $13,000 that Saidel spent during the closing weeks of the primary.

It should be no surprise that such big money went to the committee, which comprises the city's ward leaders and is led by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, a pal so close to Saidel that Saidel co-chaired Brady's mayoral campaign.

So what if it was Brady who more or less replaced Saidel in the Democratic primary, and then came in third when it was over?

As Brady himself is prone to saying, it is what it is.

The question now: Just what will the office-hungry Saidel do with his mountain of dollars?

- Marcia Gelbart

Portrait of Street

It's fair to say that Mayor Street's iPhone vigil Friday wasn't warmly received by local media. He was lambasted by radio jockeys and aggressively interrogated by TV reporters while bloggers raised the (unconstitutional) prospect of recalling the mayor.

Nationally, though, the story was told a little differently, as mayoral spokesman Joe Grace was eager to point out.

In a softball three-and-a-half minute segment on National Public Radio, Street was given the chance to tout the city's technological achievements and review the iPhone's features. The fact that some constituents figured he should be in City Hall, and not waiting in line for a cell phone, was dealt with gently and briefly. Reporters from the New York Times and Reuters also called, Grace said, asking questions about Street's citywide WiFi initiative.

"You want to hear something revealing: nationally the mayor's getting very positive press this afternoon," Grace said.

So why was the tenor of local coverage so different?

"You'd have to ask the local press that," Grace said.

In other iPhone-related news, the mayor might have left with more than a new gadget Friday. One of the technophiles waiting in line with Street was an artist with experience in painting formal portraits.

"I'm talking to him, and I realize I actually might be able to use him to do my City Hall portrait," Street said.

Formal portraits of former mayors - and of former City Council presidents - decorate the walls of City Hall. Street will have to settle on an artist soon; he leaves office in January.

- Patrick Kerkstra

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