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Californians hit the road for Hillary Clinton

February 29, 2008 | 10:54 pm

Hoping to replicate her strong showing last month in California with a much-needed win this Tuesday in another big state with somewhat similar demographics -- Texas -- Hillary Clinton is getting some help from some California friends, including Antonio Villaraigosa.

The peripatetic Los Angeles mayor was one of the warmup acts for Clinton at her Friday night rally in San Antonio (where, not too far away, Barack Obama had been campaigning earlier). Also firing up the crowd before Clinton spoke was Rep. Hilda Solis of El Monte.

Clinton is hoping that, just as in the California primary, a wave of Latino support will sweep her to a win in Texas, and Villaraigosa and Solis are doing their part to make that happen. Indeed, The Times Michael Finnegan, traveling with the Clinton team, learned that after accompanying the presidential contender to stops Saturday in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan, Villaraigosa will work the same area by himself on Sunday.

His Honor already has put in a fair number of hours for Clinton. As we noted ...

earlier, he did his part in her losing Iowa effort. And, as we also noted before, he won some high-profile recognition for his hard work on her behalf in the Golden State.

Finnegan reports that Clinton received a rousing reception at her outdoor event in San Antonio -- a crowd of 5,000, perhaps more, came to see her. Obama, typically, outdrew her at the indoor event he held in town, but the Clinton folks were happy with their turnout.

One of Clinton's prime themes in her speech adhered to the much-noticed ad her campaign started running earlier in the day -- she questioned Obama's readiness to grapple with key national security issues.

-- Don Frederick