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Hillary Clinton may be slipping in the polls in Pennsylvania. But she has surged ahead in the “Count of Presidential Yard Signs along Route 30 between Gettysburg and York, Pa.

Clinton supporters have put up three signs, all between Gettysburg and New Oxford. Obama is still at one sign. That puts her in the lead at 3-1 and suggests she may be the great closer that Ed Rendell has made her out to be.

Maybe Obama’s supporters can’t let go of their guns or religion long enough to put up signs.

UPDATE: This afternoon I saw a fourth Clinton sign, giving her a 4-1 edge. The fourth sign was on the east side of Abbottstown.

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The main thing missing in the ongoing debate over Barack Obama’s comments about small-town PA are voices of actual Pennsylvanians (other than Ed Rendell). I’ve seen quotes from consultants, politicians and pollsters, but next to nothing from people who live in our small towns. So for your edification, here’s a particularly perceptive op-ed from a young reporter in York who’s a native. Athough it ran a few weeks ago, it shows why Obama wasn’t far off the mark.

Yes, Obama’s comments were a tad condescending. How would it sound if John McCain said urbanites cling to their lattes and their fear of the suburbs because they’re bitter and frustrated that health insurance isn’t universal? Someone should just say that anyway, I suppose.

But rather than discuss the issues affecting small towns in Pennsylvania, we’re going to get an argument about who’s an elitist. It seems Obama’s biggest crime was uttering words that anyone with the slightest interest in tearing him down could spin quickly and easily. If only politicians could move as quickly when they had an actual problem to solve.

Pennsylvanians aren’t entirely silent in all this. We’ve seen a mayor trotted out in favor of Obama, a guy called John Fetterman from a town called Braddock, near Pittsburgh. But look at this web site and tell me if it seems typical of small towns in any state. Rick Gray of Lancaster also has been making cameos, but Lancaster also is fairly atypical when it comes to PA towns (but aren’t they all and isn’t that part of the point about not clinging to stereotypes?)

Hillary Clinton has been running ads showing her bucolic childhood days in Scranton,. She also assembled a mayors’ conference call, but the only one quoted that I’ve read is Mayor Stephen Reed of Harrisburg. Look at the Harrisburg skyline below and tell me if this is a small town:

[UPDATE: Here are the voices of the bitter themselves]

It’s nice to see Rush Limbaugh urging PA Republicans to switch parties and vote in the April 22 primary. I guess he wants them to vote for Hillary Clinton. But I wonder, though, if this isn’t case of being careful what you wish for. She’s probably going to be tougher in a general election than people give her credit for.

At any rate, I hope all those newfound Dems in PA enjoy their near-daily robocalls from Gov. Ed Rendell, former Pres. Bill Clinton and a host of other prominent people, not to mention the weekly calls from campaign volunteers urging us to make up our minds already. We’ve gotten two so far, one from each camp, and the election is still more than four weeks away.

I wonder how many Republicans will switch back, unable to take the incoming barrage.

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