Welsh Connection Is Gone, but the New President's Influence Will Still Get Here; Barack Obama V John McCain - Whoever Wins This November's US Presidential Election Will Have a Huge Influence on Life in the UK

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

Welsh Connection Is Gone, but the New President's Influence Will Still Get Here; Barack Obama V John McCain - Whoever Wins This November's US Presidential Election Will Have a Huge Influence on Life in the UK


Byline: Tomos Livingstone reports

FOR a while, it looked like the US presidential election in November was going to be an all-Welsh affair.

A few months ago Hillary Clinton was the favourite to win the Democratic nomination, while Mitt Romney was many people's bet for the Republican candidate.

Ms Clinton's grandmother, Hannah Jones, was the daughter of Welsh migrants with roots in west Wales; Mr Romney can do better - his father-in-law, Rod, is from Nantyfyllon, near Maesteg.

Both candidates fell by the wayside, overcome by the star power of Barack Obama and the military pedigree of John McCain-but not before the Welsh connection gave us the oddest moment of the campaign: Gordon Brown explaining the Welsh Grand Slam win to Hillary Clinton back in April. Oh to have been a fly on the wall.

Ms Clinton and Mr Romney are both being touted as potential vice-presidential candidates, although the smart money seems to be on both parties looking elsewhere.

But the disappearance of the Welsh link doesn't mean the eventual outcome won't have a huge bearing on politics this side of the Atlantic.

Recent US presidential elections have polarised the nation, and this one is likely to be no different. The east and west coasts and the areas around the Great Lakes have voted Democrat, the rest - the so-called 'flyover states' - warming to George W Bush-style Republicanism.

For all the hype around Mr Obama and his ability to attract new voters, most of the States are likely to fall in the same direction as they did in 2000 and 2004, with the outcome hanging on crucial battlegrounds like Ohio, Iowa, Florida and New Hampshire.

Both candidates have some similarities - both are outsiders whose roots in their own parties are shallower than the rivals they beat in the primaries - but the differences are far starker. Nowhere is this clearer than on foreign policy. …

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