Pittsburgh is unique for having the second-highest percentage of its Jewish population living within its city limits. The greatest number of those Jews live in Squirrel Hill, a graceful neighborhood of tree-lined streets, single-family homes as well as a commercial district with shops and coffee shops. I’d analogize the neighborhood to Brookline.
As I arrived at the Jewish Community Center to observe the balloting, I spotted a number of television live trucks parked alongside the building. Inside Michael Bartley, a WQED reporter, was interviewing voters for a report that was going to be fed to Lehrer News Hour.
I quickly learned that Bill Clinton had just left. The whole building, which he wasn’t permitted to enter, was buzzing about his visit.
I view the visit as an effort to solidify support among older Jewish Americans, some of whom are still put off by Barack Obama. I wouldn’t over value this because I spotted several Obama supporters at the location.
Inside I overheard several political conversations. One man did say “he speaks more like a preacher than a politician. That shows the influence Reverend Wright had on him.” But then his friend cautioned him not “to make too much of it.”