August 25th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
13 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-cafĂ© 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. Sharon

    Gosh I saw the ad with Debra Bartoshevich and I love it.

    August 25, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. Latinos for Obama/Biden

    SAD NEWS: Panamanian McCain campaign playing Clinton loyalists like fools! Sad, very sad and they don't even see it.

    August 25, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |

    Democrat for Mccain here!

    What pelosi and dean did is unacceptable.

    The way BO has flip flopped on MI and FL..first silencing their votes so he could secure the nomination in name of " THE RULES" and then allowing them to be counted when it was TOO LATE.

    I cannot condone the DNC's actions. Thank God MCcain is a MODERATE

    August 25, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. How low

    I guess people will do anything out of desperation.

    August 25, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. Machiavelli

    In order to get revenge, first you must win

    August 25, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. NObama

    yup, I have to agree... I don't want to see McCain win, but I would LOVE seeing BHO lose!

    McCain 08
    Hillary 12

    August 25, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Debby

    Clinton can't be on McCain's ticket they both would lose and I want both to come out winners in the end. I do believe alot of Clinton Dems. will vote McCain though if Obama doesn't give her a good cabinet which should be mentioned at the convention if he wants her voters.

    August 25, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Jim Wade, Iowa

    It truely takes an uneducated ignorant American to go from voting from Hillary Clinton, to John McCain. They have almost completely different policy views, yet Clinton has nearly identical views to Obama.

    August 25, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Marie, Canada

    Here is a real bulletin.

    I predict that Hillary Clinton will be named the presumptive Secretary of State by Barack Obama on Thursday. I also feel that this was her preference over being named VP.

    Regarding the 18,000,000 that voted for Hillary there were many, maybe even a majority that would have been happy with Hillary or Barack. 18,000,000 were not necessarily only loyal to Hillary. Time to move forward and get a Democrat into Washington to undo all the damage the Republicans have done. Time for Hillary's supporters to truly support her wishes and vote for Obama. Hillary will make a tremendous Secretary of State.

    August 25, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. Eph

    Really, Wow. Well I would love to hear intelligent answers to why Hillary supporters would now vote for McCain. It does not make a whole lot of sense, but if someone could say something besides "Hillary got cheated" or something toward that affect, that would be great.

    August 25, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Filipina

    Those Hilary supporters that won't back Obama, when Hilary run again I will not back her up and I am sure Obama supporter will do the same. Think again Hilary supporters. When McBush goes to the white house, Hilary will get the blame

    August 25, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Mike, TX

    I watched in 2000 as a group of 9 judges gave the presidency to GW Bush.

    I watched in 2008 as a goup of DNC insiders rigged the campaign and gave the nomination to Obama.

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice....

    I'll be votiing McCain in November unless Hilllary comes out of Denver as the nominee.

    August 25, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Isaac

    Hillary Clinton lost her viability as a winning candidate with Snipergate. If she had won the nomination you bet your life that McCain would've crucified her with it. If you don't believe so then you're just plain not living in reality.

    August 25, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  14. ran

    Any person who votes for Mccain is or was never a true Democrat. Neither were they a true supporter of HRC and don't really care about this country. No one with even a 1/2 a brain would ever vote for Mccain or a republican this time.

    The only way to get our country back is to vote Democratic.

    Yes we can get our country back.

    August 25, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. RFO

    You have two options: a vote for the future or sit around and think about the past.

    Obama/Biden '08

    August 25, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. yankeegirl15

    You can have 'em, we don't want 'em; they're Pretty Ugly Menopausal As--les. Mean, Mean, Mean. The 60's are over you lost then and now.

    August 25, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Sean

    She's going against everything Hillary Clinton believed in, and she's being used by the Republicans. She's going to have to live with her choice for the rest of her life.

    August 25, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |



    August 25, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. Lee

    These people sound really demented, this is why all the DNC members kept asking Sentor Clinton to concede before she went into debt. This proves that there are some sick people in america; they are not patriots if they believe in a person rather than the issues america faces. If McCain wins, I hope these people are ready to fight Russia and have the pride that they are displaying now to join the armed forces and fight as hard as they are now! Probably not, they will sit on their fat a– and watch our children die for no reason whatsoever.

    Good Luck!

    August 25, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Andrew

    Go Johnny Go!!!

    August 25, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. tai

    YA Good job, vote for the person who stands 180 degree from hillary clinton but not Obama, who is close with clinton than mccain can ever be. These idiot hillary supporters disgust me, florida and nader were to blame for the 2000 election and look what we got? George Bush, if you want to be stupid and have history repeat again, your more than welcome to, but history will look at you in disgust, god if the democratic party was given the election on a platter they would still find a way to lose, Thanx HIllary for an "honorable" kitchen sink campaign.

    August 25, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. McCain & Hillary Ticket?

    It would be hard to believe that HIllary would swing over to the republican side in my estimation. However, I have to admit as a lifelong democrat of 40plus years who has never ever even thought of voting republican, that I would be happy as a lark if she did and I'd be so glad to vote for their winning team-up. I wouldn't blame Hillary on iota for moving to the republican side after her hellish experience with the now incredibly corrupt DNC.

    August 25, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Nice going, angry Clinton backers. You've allowed yourselves to be used by the McCain camp. AS IF JOHN McCAIN WILL DO ANYTHING AT ALL FOR YOU! The guy is 180 degrees opposed to the beliefs of Hillary OR Obama, but because some of you are being mad, pouting babies due to Hillary's primary loss you say you'll vote McCain, which is REALLY a vote AGAINST Hillary and all she stands for! Stop pouting, grow up, and face the facts: A vote for McCain is a true vote AGAINST HILLARY!!!
    OBAMA '08, HILLARY '16!!!

    August 25, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. Spencer from VA

    Some of these Hillary supporters have lost their mind. When John McCain has voted 95% of the time in favor of George Bush's policies, you're not a Democrat, you're a Republican. Even Hillary Clinton disagrees with John McCain policies. So go right ahead and jump on the PUMA bandwagon. You guys aren't even real Hillary suppoters if you're going to vote for McSame.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    August 25, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. bij

    This should be a clear indication to Hillary supporters that Mccain doesn't really care about them but only cares about thier votes...I hope they make the right decision....this is more than an election. It's about the future of our country

    August 25, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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