COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Black women have more power in this election than they've ever had before. Thursday WIS News 10's Judi Gatson talked with a group of women from around the Midlands who've been closely following the candidates and issues.
The ladies are informed and passionate about their beliefs.
Judi started the conversation by asking how they feel about black women being in this new position of influence and power.
Julia Nelson: "You know Judi, it's a surprise for them but we always knew that."
Valisha Adams: "It's very motivating for me."
Christina Myers: "I'm so excited because this is the first time I get to participate in a presidential election, so it's really exciting for me and I am a Senator Barack Obama supporter."
"He's a man of hope, change and faith. And I believe a man of faith, a man of God - is a man of truth. And with that as his foundation he is well able to lead our country."
Valisha: "I don't feel like his grooming is complete at this point and that is why I support Senator Hillary Clinton, for president."
"She's made great efforts towards making a better world for all of us, regarding healthcare, regarding education and literacy."
Julia: "I think a lot of people discredit Obama's experience."
"He has a proven record that he can work on bi-partisan issues, and that's what we're going to need."
Diane Ward: "I guess I would be interested in knowing why is it that we care that a Republican likes our Democratic person."
Olive Foster: "When you get to Washington in spite of all the promises that you make, you can't, you can't do it all alone. You need help."
Valisha: "Well, I believe Hillary can have bi-partisan collaborations. I really believe she can."
"Even as the wife of the president, she stepped out front; she didn't just hide in the shadows as a lot of first ladies do."
Michelle Smith: "There's never been a selection of people to choose from, there's never been two or three people that stood out, like wow I really want to go for them. It's always been who's the least harmful."
Diane: "I guess I don't know Barack Obama, I'm sorry to say it like that but I knew Hillary Clinton when she came and said she wanted to be president, Barack Obama has to bring me a resume."
"Please let me know who he is."
Julia: "He's the only person really talking about early education."
"Also his stance on the Iraq war, he's realistic about the facts. He's not giving a timeline for when he would end the war but he's going into that looking, knowing that we need to end the war."
"When he was a state senator, he helped overturn legislation that helped 13 men that were on death row for a crime they did not commit."
Tiffany Tyson: "Everybody knows Hillary Clinton. We don't know Barack Obama and he's pretty new to the scene and I think that's one thing she has the upper hand as far as experience."
Olive: "Well when they talk about experience, I wonder experience in what? You can have good experiences, you can have bad experiences, and the experience that you have, you brag on your experience that you have - but what have you really done that matters?"
Michelle: "I mean there are two people that I can identify with. One is an African-American and one is a female and I can identify with both of them."
"So when do you think you're going to make that decision?" Judi asks.
"January 26th!" says Gwendolyn Scott.
"I know what it's like not to have health insurance. I know what it's like to be turned away from a doctor saying they can't see you because you don't have health insurance, and," she says, tearful, "I also, I have a little first cousin. She's three-years-old, and she was diagnosed with brain cancer last year at Christmas. And we wrote all of the candidates during that time and Hillary Clinton was the one that responded back to us. She's the one that responded back and said she'll do all that she can for cancer research."
Wanda Wiley: "I'm starving for change. I really want to see change. Obviously being a Democrat I'm sitting here today, so the values and the beliefs I share with each of them, we all share those. But ultimately for me that's what it is. I want change so bad - that, that's what I want to see, who can ultimately get that nomination and pull this thing off."
Gwendolyn: "Just to look around the table today we've got a voice, we've got a voice. Let's use it January 26th."
WIS News 10 did invite supporters of John Edwards, but they never got back in touch with us. All of the women Judi talked to are looking for record turnout on Saturday.
In fact, there's a "Sister's Vote" rally at the State House Friday at noon. It's not associated with any campaign. It's a nonpartisan rally to mobilize the black female vote in South Carolina.
Reported by Judi Gatson