03/28/2008 02:48 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Caravan Poaches Latino Hillary Supporters

By Daniel Macht and Rosaleen Ortiz

A 14-car caravan of Obama supporters cruised the streets of the Bronx and Upper Manhattan Sunday while blasting horns and Spanish reggaeton music through Hillary friendly neighborhoods.

{Click Here For A Video Of The Caravan}

"Obama con los latinos presente," sounded the refrain of a song set to a heavy Caribbean beat, and written by DR Flow, a group from the Bronx now based in Florida. "Vamos a votar por alguien que represente."

Translated, the lyrics say, "Obama is there for Latinos. Let's vote for someone who represents."

M. Sosa, 27, one of three DR Flow musicians who wrote and recorded "Nuestro Presidente Obama" in two weeks, said his group usually writes love songs. But Sosa said this year he decided to take a stand.

"Obama speaks for everybody, all ethnicities," Sosa said. "We're going to make history this year and redirect the country on the right path."


If Sosa's group sacrificed a couple weeks to write a song, Bronx resident Haile Rivea, 30, lost his job to Obamamania. The volunteer organizer said he was fired at a city food program for devoting too much time to the Obama campaign. "It was amicable, though, no regrets," Rivera said before climbing into his van en route to Washington Heights.


Rivera knows his guy faces an uphill battle.

With only days before Tuesday's historic election, Hillary leads Obama in New York by at 12 points, according to Public Policy Polling.

A California field poll shows Obama, who lead crowds in chants of "si, se puede" (yes we can), holds the support of only one in five Latinos. Clinton is embraced by over half of the Latino community.

Se podrá?

Momentum could be shifting. A new poll released Sunday shows the rivals tied nationally. Obama also landed the endorsement of La Opinión, the largest Spanish newspaper in the country. And, now that John Edwards bowed out of the race, who knows where his supporters will sign on?

Rivera said in debates where Obama refused to scapegoat immigrants he resonated with Latinos. Among the 18 million estimated Latino voters, Rivera expects more than anticipated. "The La Opinión endorsement says a lot," Rivera said.


Judging by the local reaction to Rivera's caravan on Sunday, Obama needs the support.

For each thumbs-up and reciprocated "Oooobaaaaammmaahss" along sidewalks and across car lanes came a nearly equal number of blank stares, if not boos.

"Clinton! Clinton!" said one man as the procession slowed near a street corner in the Bronx. "I'm voting for Clinton because he was a good president here, and the Mrs. is good too," he continued in Spanish.

Another man stood next to two Hillary supporters on a sidewalk off St. Nicholas Ave. in Washington Heights. As Obama volunteer Beatrice Franklin's, 39, green Nissan Altima slowed, the man reached out his dark-skinned arm, and while tapping it yelled, "You are not gonna win in the South. I like him but these southern people are racist. They don't like black people."

"South Carolina!" Franklin, said, referring to Obama's landslide win.

"That's not the South! That's the south-central!"