Arkansas could go blue if left up to the Clintons. It hasn't since 1996, when native son Bill Clinton was up for re-election, but Democrats are giving it their all. Hillary Clinton returns to Arkansas October 10 for a rally and a $1,000-a-couple fundraiser reception for Barack Obama at old pal Kaki Hockersmith's Italian-style mansion. You might remember Hockersmith; she's the interior designer who refurbished the White House and the Oval Office in 1992. She also designed Clinton's penthouse at his presidential library. Hockersmith and her husband, Max Mehlberger, are longtime Hillary supporters and hosted a fundraiser for the New York senator during the primary season. They have hosted numerous Democratic fundraisers over the years, including one for John Kerry in 2004. Hockersmith was listed as a Hillary bundler this year, having raised more than $100,000 for Hillary.
One of the event's cohosts, Lisa Ferrell, a Little Rock attorney and former state legislator, was an Obama supporter when being one in Arkansas was not cool. "It's exciting for longtime Obama supporters and longtime Clinton supporters to join together," Ferrell tells our Suzi Parker. Ferrell knows Obama. They attended Harvard Law School together, and she remembers him as a leader. "He would walk into a room with people, and people would look to him to be a leader—not that he would assert himself but that he could mediate. His leadership qualities were evident." Ferrell, who attended the Democratic convention in Denver, has kept up with Obama through mutual friends.