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

Angry Clinton backers targeted

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. A. Boston, MA

    Oops, misread! The statement is still a fact and still stands.


    August 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Katie

    . . . Any Hillary supporter who allow themselves to be used as a tool
    by the republicans deserve what they get.

    August 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Mike

    I am one of them angry democrats too! Obama you lost my vote not because hillary isnt on the ticket but the way you have treated her since you have won the nomination. If you are going to treat her this way I dont expect you to think about or treat an average american like me with any respect either. I sure hope you lose.

    A Democrat for Mccain!

    August 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Barry

    Hey if things keep heading down this road maybe we can see a 3rd party Nader/Clinton ticket to make sure we get 4 more years of Bush!

    August 25, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Chesapeake, Va

    Who cares......Are you voting for the person or the issues? Hillary and John McCain are worlds apart on the issues; so what is really the motive. I am a Barack Obama supporter; but had Hillary won the nomination I still wouldn't vote for John McCain. These people really need to get it together and take a long hard look at what is going on in this country and around the world. John McCain is not the answer to our problems we face.

    August 25, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Miguel Filomeno

    It is truly disappointing to see Hillary Clinton supporters switch their support to John McCain over the simple fact that he did not consult with either her or Bill over his VP nominee. Why should he consult with anyone other than his close advisers? Barack Obama has run an outstanding campaign, beating all odds by taking the spot over Hillary (she is still a great representative of the party, and she will remain that). However we need a united party in order to defeat the Republican Party that has destroyed this country during the past 8 years of President George Bush presidency.

    Please stop this nonsense and pull together. Our country and our children deserve a better future!

    August 25, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Critical Thinker

    It is asinine to for *any* democrat to vote for someone who is idealogically opposed to everything that you as a democrat claim to believe in. McCain will appoint more conservative justices to the supreme court, overturn Roe v. Wade, and has a *horrible* record on womens health issues:

    He voted against requiring health care plans to cover birth control (3/22/03).

    He voted against comprehensive, medically accurate sex education (7/25/06).

    He voted against international family planning funding (3/14/96).

    He voted against funding to prevent teen and unintended pregnancies (3/17/05).

    He voted against public education for emergency contraception (3/17/05).

    And he voted against restoring Medicaid funding that could be used for family planning for low-income women (3/17/05).

    NPR reported (2/2/08) that, “Many Republican voters seem to believe, incorrectly, that the current Republican front-runner, Arizona Senator John McCain, supports abortion rights.”

    For any self respecting Democrat to vote for McCain simply because their candidate didn't win is not only an immature political neophyte, but alot can be said of the character of anyone who would cut off their own nose just to spite their face...

    August 25, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |

    I think this ad is DISGUSTING... so many of Obama supporters said they would vote for Hillary if the tables were turned and a lot of hillary supporters are so bitter they are willing to switch parties to vote for another George Bush wannabe....just sad.

    August 25, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. M-

    This is sad. Essentially, this woman, and all those who may follow her, are voting AGAINST everything that Hillary stands for. It is more of a slap in the face to Hillary than anything or anyone else.

    August 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. matt in ohio

    this clinton supporter was waiting to see who Obama would choose. Hoping for Hillary. Well, for me, and many of my friends, this was the last insult from a guy who just doesn't understand the power we have as Clinton loyalists. I will be voting McCain for sure in November.

    August 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. McCain was the man

    Yeah McCain/Clinton. Go, Go, Go.
    Sure McCain would get the 2-3 million Clinton crossovers, but a the same time loose at least 50% of the Republican base. I mean they HATE her...

    August 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |

    Count me in–Hillary for President; and if not, then McCain, but NEVER Obama a.k.a., "the inexperienced one"....

    August 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Rick

    As a republican, I can honestly say I won't be voting for McCain. So I guess tit for tat.. too bad I am not a delegate.

    I firmly believe Obama is the better candidate. No, he doesn't have the 'experience' that the elder McCain has but then again, at this stage in our countries demise, I am more than willing to give a younger, more energetic candidate the reigns of our country.

    Honestly, as much as I hate to say it (as a white male), I feel that there are a lot of Hillary supporters who won't be voting for Obama strictly because of the 'color' factor. I feel that Hillary didn't have the popular vote, she had the 'color' vote and that will carry over to the presidential race.

    As a New Yorker, I will not be voting for anything that has to do with Hillary Clinton.. that includes the Senate. Her empty promises to upstate New York about Jobs, income and education were just that.. empty and the typical rhetoric used by politicians to gain a seat – regardless of what lies and deceit that has to be used.

    You promised upstate NY 200,000 new jobs Hillary! Where are they?

    August 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Juliette Goliwas

    Are you people out of your minds or has the mentality of America regressed to the age of school children. Tit for tat behavior does not belong in adult decision making. I am sorry your candidate didn't win. But deal with it, get over yourselves and move on for the betterment of the country. And think of your children and the lessons you are teaching them with this behavior. Well if you don't win, get even. And by the way I am a life long Republican voting for a Democrat for the first time in my life and to the disgust of everyone in my life. I am being blamed for all the abortions in the world and etc. And if I can DEAL with it SO CAN YOU!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Cynthia

    One thing that every Clinton supporter must realize is that when it is all said and done – Senator Clinton is a rich lady, Senator McCain is a very very rich man and Senator Obama has not done too bad (writing two best seller books) . Whether Senator McCain or Senator Obama wins they are going to be fine. If Senator McCain wins will you be fine financially – with him planning to keep the tax structure the same as President Bush or will you be better off under Senator Obama's plan that will give those of us making under 150,000 a tax break.

    August 25, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Luis in Miami

    I am there, for the first time in my life I am supporting a Republican. Obama could have done something to salvage his presidential bid and once again he took the wrong path when he picked the weakest link and went with the "safe” VP. I wish him good luck. It's too bad he could not see the fact that he need it to Woo the base of the party that supported Hillary and Biden is not going to do it for him. Biden accentuates his weakness and he would have been the best secretary of State.

    August 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. joshua


    August 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
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