August 25th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
6 years ago

Angry Clinton backers targeted

A new McCain ad is targeting supporters of Hillary Clinton.
A new McCain ad is targeting supporters of Hillary Clinton.

(CNN) – As the Republican campaign to take advantage of fresh reports of friction between the Clinton and Obama camps shifts into high gear, John McCain released his second ad in two days aimed at wooing the New York senator's disappointed supporters.

Watch: McCain's new ad targets Clinton supporters

The new spot stars the Democratic convention delegate who lost her slot two months ago when she said publicly she'd vote for McCain, not presumptive nominee Barack Obama. After the party's decision, McCain asked Debra Bartoshevich to join him on the Straight Talk Express during a campaign visit to her home state of Wisconsin.

Watch: How is McCain's new ad playing out?

"I'm a proud Hillary Clinton Democrat," says Bartoshevich, a nurse, in the 30-second spot. "She had the experience and judgment to be president. Now, in a first for me, I'm supporting a Republican, John McCain.

"A lot of Democrats will vote McCain. It's okay, really!"

The TV ads, and the campaign's "Citizens for McCain" outreach initiative to former Clinton supporters, are being joined this week by efforts on the ground, as senior advisor Carly Fiorina and other top McCain officials head to Denver to recruit these disaffected Democrats. The Republican National Committee – which has opened a temporary war room in Denver – has made it clear the effort is a convention priority. "Typically when parties are split, the other one wins," RNC Chairman Mike Duncan told reporters.

Bartoshevich is among a small group of self-described Clinton-turned-McCain voters who've traveled to Denver this week and organized a kind of parallel counter-convention, with daily press conferences, protests, and movie screenings.

Sunday evening, a few dozen gathered in a former garage-turned-café a few minutes and light-years away from downtown Denver for the premiere of a new anti-Obama documentary, "The Audacity of Democracy." Participants included PUMA founder Will Bower – part of a pro-Clinton group that visited McCain headquarters shortly after she conceded in June – and Andy Martin, a conservative activist and author of an anti-Obama book who has been credited by supporters of the Democrat's campaign as the original source of the false rumor that he is a Muslim.

Nearly all of those interviewed said they planned to vote for the Republican ticket in the fall. Some insisted Clinton might still stage a convention floor coup and win the nomination Wednesday; others said they believed McCain might tap her as VP of a unity ticket

Reports that Clinton was planning to ask her delegates to support Obama were greeted by some there with angry disbelief. "Have you heard it from her mouth? Have you? Have you? Did her campaign say it on the record?" demanded a woman in a black pro-Hillary t-shirt. "Yeah, I didn't think so," she said, and walked away.

Others expressed hope that McCain might tap her as his running mate on a new "unity ticket." "We went to mass and prayed for it," said Toni Leigh of Taos, New Mexico. "They would make a great team."

Monday morning, Bartoshevich herself – along with a few other minor celebrities of the "PUMA" movement – is slated to hold an RNC-sponsored press conference plugging the Arizona senator's presidential bid.

soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Sylvia B

    I added this to the Kennedy story before I saw this report. Why isn't CNN reporting on the FOX news reporter? CNN, did you see what happened to the FOX reporter? Watch out because you are going to get the same. You have been trying to stir up trouble between the Clinton and Obama supporters. Wolf and Candy (McCain surrogates) are always asking, Is Obama ready? Why is Obama having trouble? Why don't you ask, why is McCain such a liar? or Why doesn't McCain focus on the issues in his stupid ads? CNN, the second worst news organization in the worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrld! FOX is first.

    August 25, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. Mike in Columbus

    Spite... what great a polital stance to take.

    August 25, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. Robert

    McCain is playing democrats for fools. You gotta love it.

    August 25, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. bitter voter

    yellow dog texas democrat no more.

    August 25, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. ALLAN USA

    IF no HRC - NO Obama. He is a rock star not person for PRESIDENT. We are going to teach him a lessons he never forget. NO Obama.

    August 25, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. Not a tie. Obama wins.

    College students won't be swayed or lured in by these tactics. They have not been polled, because they have unlisted phone numbers, and they represent a very large demographic that will vote for Obama 3 to 1, or maybe even by a larger margin. And they WILL turn out this year. They're tired of the Republican war machine that knows how to do nothing except attack. So this "Obama and McCain are tied" nonsense will give way to an Obama victory.

    August 25, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. mabel floyd

    if hillary can not handle a bunch of whinny old ladies then how would she have handled the guy from russia–the guy from n. korea–the guy from china? i voted for hillary–she lost–obama won–i want a winner–get with the program–
    if hillary messes the election for the country then i will work for someone to work against her when she runs for any office–her career should be over. she put herself above the needs of the country and should have to pay for that!!!

    August 25, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. Ilene

    No it's not really okay to do this. If you vote for McCain instead of Obama, you get what you deserve - and you haven't seen anything yet - just wait until you want your rights as a woman protected. It won't be all you idiot turncoats having the last laugh.

    Voting for McCain = Stuck in Stupid!

    August 25, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. TM in CO

    Wouldn't it be something if a lot of the delegates changed their minds and voted for Hillary? I was for Obama until he started his dirty laundry campaigning like he said he wouldn't. If he mislead us about that, he will mislead about anything. I won't support McCain either. Looks like a lifelong Democrat will be voting anything other than Democrat or Repulican. Neither one can do the job with honesty or integrity

    August 25, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. Beca

    I am one of them, I will vote for McCain, rather be safe than sorry with an inexpirience Jr. Senator..

    August 25, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. adam

    anyone who supported Clinton and is now ready to vote for McCain is a member of the Cult of Personality. If you supported Clinton b/c of her ideas and policies there is only one person to vote for and that's Obama.

    August 25, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. SIMP

    This goes to show that hillary hasn't done enough to convince her supporters to rally behind Obama. She lost and they are angry so they choose to vote for mc old timer, they are pitiful. I have no doubt that Obama is going to be the next president and these hateful sore losers can kick rocks.

    Obama 08

    August 25, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. Matthew

    Sad...hopefully this sort of pandering will backfire to independants and the republican base who could clearly see that Hillary Clinton did NOT have the judgment needed for president.

    August 25, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. Dominique

    I really wish the media would stop giving these faux Democrats the time of day.

    Obama/Biden '08

    August 25, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. Brennan - Seattle, WA

    Sour grapes. If Clinton supporters go vote for McCain it goes against everything that Hillary stands for. It is a childish and foolish act. If you support McCain that is fine(curious, but fine), but if you are only supporting McCain because Barack beat Hillary then you are an idiot. A vote for McCain shows support for his policies and he clearly disagrees with almost every policy position that Mrs. Clinton holds.

    August 25, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. Adam

    It is truly sad that McCain is resorting to propaganda to try and woo voters. How about actually wooing them with your policies. Individuals that were supporting Hillary that are voting for McCain are voting with their heart, not their head. If they truly believed in the ideals of Hillary, voting for McCain would not be an option. I guess Americans truly have become deaf, blind, and dumb to what is going on around this country.

    August 25, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. Jill

    This is really sad. Have the Hillary people given any thought to what McCain will do if he wins? He'll appoint conservative judges, Roe vs Wade will be in jeopardy and the hard fought rights for women will be out the window.

    If Roe vs Wade goes we 'll be back to the days I can remember with women of means going out of the country for abortions and back alley butchering for the rest. Is this really what the Hillary people want or are they just in a non-thinking frenzy???

    August 25, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  18. Dick in Sioux Falls

    This defies belief. These people have never been genuine Democrats, or they would not be supporting a warmonger, anti-abortion, aging war "hero" who has parlayed being shot down and spending 5+ years in a Vietnamese prison into a career in politics. He deserted his first wife for a wealthy blonde, gained headlines by being a so-called "maverick" who has voted over 95% of the time for George W. Bush.
    His international naivete was documented when he stated "We are all Georgians", giving false hope to a Georgia National President who very unwisely challenged Russia in a showdown they could not win.
    Don't be misled, these are a vew former Clinton supporters who are being used by Karl Rove and the Republicans who could not possibly win this election on the issues.

    August 25, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  19. Hello!!!

    Paul Begala warned CNN about Hillary supporters not voting for Obama WAY back in the EARLY primaries. January or February and CNN brushed it off..... I believe he said it was 24% of her voters would not vote for him at that time. Not much difference today. And I'll tell you when it started. When he said "You're likeable enough, Hillary." Then progressed and got solidified when he stated so arrogantly, "I'm sure I can get her voters, I'm not so sure she can get mine."
    The person who should have Obama campaign running scared.....
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Kay Bailey Hutchison
    Great Lady :) What a resume :)

    August 25, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. Kansas for Obama

    I think it is absolutely pathetic that these whiney little babies are voting the oppposite of everything Hillary stood for simply because they are sore losers. My 5 year old has better sense than that. McCain is the anti-Hillary and those so called Democrats that are voting for McCain are not true Democrats. A true Democrat will look at the issues and realize that Obama stands for almost everything Hillary did and McCain does not. So any Hillary supporter that plans to vote for McCain are obviously selfish idiots that don't deserve to be called Democrats...go ahead and vote for McCain, we don't want morons on our side anyway....

    August 25, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. R U Serious?

    you've got to be kidding me!!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Lucieann

    Earth to Ms. Bartoshevich~ It's not okay for a Democrat to vote for a Republican and John McCain!! Stop whining, For goodness sakes, what are you smoking, lady?? Hillary will never shirk her Party and join McCain, she has her principles, she lost fair and square.....you people are just disgusting, and I'm glad you state Democratic Party voted you out, missy!!!

    August 25, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Herman in LA

    CNN post this,

    Take this story and put it where the sun don't shine...

    August 25, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. Andrea

    Ignorance is blissful!!! More power to the blissfully ignorant and when our beloved country falls apart I'll be the first in line to blame these people.

    August 25, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. LET IT GO

    THE MCCAIN CAMP BETTER BE VERY CAREFUL. THEY ARE BECOME TO NEGATIVE THIS CAN TURN OFF SOME INDEPENDNET. ALSO IF YOU ARE VOTING FOR MCCAIN JUST BECAUSE HILLARY LOST, YOU WERE NEVER A REAL DEMOCRAT, A REAL DEMOCRAT WILL NOT VOTE FOR ANTHOR THIRD TERM BUSH.

    August 25, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
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