March 27th, 2008
05:09 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton tells Democrats: Don't vote for McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clinton said electing a Democrat is of paramount importance."]
FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) - Hillary Clinton pleaded for partisan unity on Thursday, urging Democrats not to abandon their party to vote for John McCain if their preferred candidate fails to secure the nomination.

Clinton was asked by a questioner in the audience here what she would tell frustrated Democrats who might consider voting for McCain in the general election out of spite.

“Please think through this decision,” Clinton said, laughing and emphasizing the word “please.”

“It is not a wise decision for yourself or your country.”

The crowd applauded loudly.

A Gallup poll released this week indicated that 28 percent of Clinton's supporters would back McCain should the New York senator lose her quest for the Democratic nomination.

That compares to the 19 percent of Obama supporters who say they will favor McCain should Clinton be the party’s nominee.

“First of all, every time you have a vigorous contest like we are having in this primary election people get intense,” she continued. “You know, Sen. Obama has intense support. I have intense support.”

Clinton stressed that there are “significant” differences between her and Obama, but said “those differences pale to the differences between us and Sen. McCain.”

“I intend to do everything I can to make sure we have a unified Democratic party,” she said. “When this contest is over and we have a nominee, we’re going to close ranks, we’re going to be united.”

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Lewis

    My God. An adult response. Kudos, Hill.

    March 27, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Byron

    Another side of this the Dems seem to want to ignore is of that 28% of Clinton supporters that say they'll vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee, may well not end up voting for McCain, but instead how many of the 28% in the end won't show up to vote in Nov for anyone.

    March 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. McCain voter

    I am a Hillary supporter who will definetly vote for McCain if Obama gets the nomination. I have several co-workers who will do the same. There is no question many Hillary supporters will not support Obama. Perhaps if Hillary is on the ticket that could change our minds, but even then we will find it difficult to vote for Obama.

    We feel he is unqualified, that he is not well-known, and that his anti-American friends like his spiritual advisor are troublesome.

    March 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Dennis

    I'm glad to here this. I sincerely hope she means it. The Democrats have a historic opportunity to do something great for this country in terms of the economy and our standing in the world community. I like McCain, but I don't think his plans are the same. It would be a shame if the party managed to devour itself before the general election.

    March 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    I missed by one year voting for President Kenndy, since then only Johnson, Carter and Clinton have won Presidential elections. I will not vote for a candidate that can not win, and Barach Obama can not will against McCain.
    I looked at the 2000 and 2004 electorial maps and I can not see Obama picking up enough states to win. Obama screwed himself when it comes to Michigan by opposing their re-vote that state goes for Mccain and Florida will stay Red.
    Hillary will hold all the Blue states and be able to win Florida and Ohio,
    either state with enough electorial to win the election, two states that Obama will lose.

    March 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. What-A-Mess?

    For once I can say GOOD JOB HILLARY!!! That's the type of Clinton I was used to in the 90's. I am an African American and when it was looking like both Clinton and Obama was running for president, I knew there would be a tough choice to be made. I really like the Clinton's and how they handled this country. At the same time, race aside, I really liked Obama and his message of change and how he carried himself. Until the loss of the first primary, Hillary was a good candidate but everything changed after that loss and I have been turned off from her campaign since.

    These past couples of weeks have been really rough on both candidates and primarily the future of the Democratic Party was being threatened. This kind of talk from Hillary makes me feel hopeful that we will unite around one democrat in the fall.

    March 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. dgb0711

    I wonder if she will say later that she misspoke?

    March 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Marty

    If I wanted an honest commander-in-chief fready on "day one", according to Hillary, my only choice would have to be McCain. Hillary says only she and McCain have the necessary experience, but so far, she is the only one making up LIES about her experience. I don't understand how anyone could believe anything that comes out of her mouth after travelgate and NAFTAgate. What does it take for you Clinton supporters to see what LIARS the Clintons are? What line would they have to cross before you say enough?

    March 27, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    I wont care how unified the party is I will not vote Obama. I don't like what I hear and I don't like his bias or racist implications. No one can sit in church for 20 years and say ho hum I'm not effected.

    March 27, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Casey, Ohio St. University

    I am an avid Obama supporter, but this makes my respect for Hillary Clinton jump it is great that she is putting up a fight while placing a seed in her supporters that even if she isn't the one that gets nominated thats no reason to abandon the hopes and dreams of the democratic party that both candidates hold in such high regard. I will support Obama til the end if he gets the nomination or not, but no matter who the Democratic candidate is I'm going to be perfectly happy with them.

    March 27, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Enrique--- Hispanic Iraqi Freedom Veteran

    Well done Senator.

    These are the types of comments that both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton need to make. The unification of the Democratic Party should be priority if we are to take back the White House.

    They both need to repeat this ad nauseum.

    That being said. . .


    March 27, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    This is the first unambiguously good thing I have heard Senator Clinton say in weeks. Perhaps there is hope.

    March 27, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Ms. O'Connor

    I was waiting for a reporter to finally ask one of the candidates to address this issue.

    March 27, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |

    Senator Clinton shows great leadership and dedication to the democratic party ! Either way she wins !

    March 27, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Relevant

    I hate Clinton, but at the same time, I'm very glad / relieved to hear her say this, and I hope her supporters take it to heart when Obama captures the nomination.

    There has been speculation that she has tried to sabotage the Democratic chances this election so as to build herself an "I told you so" campaign platform for '12. This new statement does not completely eradicate those suspicions, but, it is a step in the right direction.

    Whether or not she offers this merely as an attempt to improve her plummeting approval rating, makes no difference to me, as long as she means it and will act accordingly once she loses the nomination, and as long as her Clintonistas listen to what she's said here and do indeed close party ranks and never, -ever- let another Bush/McCain into the White House.

    March 27, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. Jill in Chicago

    What you should expect from a loyal party member. Now if all the former president Clinton bashing can stop, we will look like a unified party. Honestly, didn't BC leave the country in better shape than W? So, let's stop throwing one of the most successful two-term democratic presidents we have had in decades, under the bus. Attack the democratic nominee, Hillary, not the former president. Reagan fans would never defect, it is one of the only admirable qualities the Republicans truly efface.

    March 27, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. osirisravanz

    I didn't see her statement on tv but i am curious! Why was she laughing when she said, “Please think through this decision,” Clinton said, laughing and emphasizing the word “please.”

    “It is not a wise decision for yourself or your country.” can someone explain that to me.

    March 27, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. Miguel, Florida

    The words of Senator Clinton, reaffirms my vote to her and ideas. But I cannot vote for a man that does not want other votes to count (specially Florida) and has been caught in a lot of lies, even after been defended by the bias media networks. In my view is Hillary or McCain.

    March 27, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. okay

    But we will close rank around YOU.

    Obama has nothing to do with it. It will not be spite. It will be civil disobedience in defiance of the corrupt actions of the DNC.

    Howard Dean and Pelosi, the Media and the democratic party elites, have tried to knock you out of the race.

    They have advantaged Obama in every possible way and they have throttled you in every possible way.

    Your supporters will not allow that to go unpunished.

    They can continue to handicap you at their own peril.
    We will have our say in Nov.

    I am willing to suffer through 4 more years of republican rule. I am not willing to watch and allow and approve as the democratic party swift boats its own members and disenfranchises its own base

    March 27, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. Franky

    To be honest, this is more like a "natural reaction" instead of what might happen later on. I'm telling you guys, if Hillary wins and my boy gives the O.K, TRUST ME, they will follow him. And think of it as the same thing if my boy wins, Hillary's supporters will follow, of course pending on what happens. Do you know what this reminds me of??? Kind of reminds me of the OLD, OLD, OLD DAYS when the Barbarians were around, why?? Well, not only they have enemies on their side, but also the "Roman Empire". Of course, we all know what happened to each barbarian tribe......

    March 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  21. Mel

    Sorry Hillary but if you are not the nominee – I will vote for McCain at least he and his wife love America and are not racist !!

    March 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. Jacob S

    Good on her. I hope for her sake and the party's sake that she's being honest here and not just saying that to curry favor with anyone.

    March 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Lucas, Nashville TN

    If she's nominated and somehow cannot get Barack as her VP, I'm out. I won't vote for McCain, but I will NOT vote for her, either.

    My Senator, Governor, council people, whatever. I will press ever Democratic button except Hillary's.

    Hillary: If you SOMEHOW spin your way to the White House, you better HOPE Obama comes along. Otherwise, you're toast.

    March 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. Ilene

    I have thought it through!! Seriously, I can think of nothing else. It will never be a lying power hungry monster like you. For the first time in my life I will vote for a Republican. It will be a very hard thing for me to do. My son is in the Air Force and would face another deployment. The fact is I hate you so VERY much and trust you so VERY little that I would sacrifice my son to keep you out of office. How do you like that CNN?? Seems your polls yesterday were off. I know of at least 25 democrats that plan to vote for McCain if Hillary gets the nod. No one wants that vindictive liar in office. At least McCain seems to have principles.

    March 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    Promises, promises....I've already burned my DemocRAT voter registration card and switched to Independant. I have NEVER been so upset with the DemocRAT party as I have been this primary season. Clinton's tactics have had the most negative impact on me and was the main reason for my switch. I can promise you if you people put her up as the DemocRATic nominee, I will definately vote for John McCain.

    March 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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