August 25th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
12 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-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. mama4obama

    PUMAs are doing nothing but making Hillary look bad and leaving yourselves wide open to be taken advantage of by Slitherin McCain. How sad it would be for decisions to be made with emotions instead of brains.

    August 25, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. victor

    UNBELIEVABLE ! In my entire life I have never seen such bitterness. It reminds me of a child who doesn't get their way and throws a temper tantrum, except the tantrum has gone on for months. This has become the most self destructive think I've ever witnessed.

    August 25, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Candy West Virginia

    See what yoiu puma/pac maniacs and hillary have done? Hope your proud of yourselves because thanks to you, she will NEVER hold another office in this life. So go ahead and vote repuglican, just know that you will never get a chance to vote for her again. She has turned off so many people with her maniacal drive for power and her delusional supporters that she probably couldn't win a council seat in idaho.

    August 25, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. Tom

    Because she disagreed with Obama she lost her status of being a SD. It sounds like a dictatorship to me. Good for her for this ad.

    August 25, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. Wendy

    Ridiculous! McCain would have had a "surge" of negative attacks against the Clintons if she were the V.P Politics as usual & people actually fall for this garbage. CNN once again is giving McCain all kinds of free advertising, rare to see any Obama ads. The Paris ad was run constantly. Those who would like to see a McCain/Clinton ticket are delusional! Clinton is against EVERYTHING McCain is trying to sell! They need to start looking at the issues instead of the individuals, this isn't Miss Congeniality, it's the Presidency!

    August 25, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Howard

    I cannot but marvel at Hillary's die-hard supporters who will support a Republican who is an antithesis to much of what Hillary stands for rather than accept the fact that Hillary came in 2nd place in the primaries.

    In some parts of the world, they refer to this sort of thing as "a cult of personality." Me? I just call it, "stupid."

    August 25, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Shrill for Hill

    Please, everybody should vote for McCain. A woman's place is in the kitchen, not in the workplace.

    August 25, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Jan, Knoxville, TN

    These ultra Hillary supporters really make me sick. They are not true Democrats or they wouldn't even think of voting for McCain. Hillary and these people are stealing Barack's big moment and I think real Democrats will remember this for a long time. If Barack loses the election, it will be primarily Hillary's fault for being so self-centered!

    OBAMA '08

    August 25, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. marianna

    Lots of cool-aid at Pepsi Center, LOL

    August 25, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Aaron

    The Clinton supporters should be ashamed. Sill mad that she didn't get nominated, Clinton supporters are actively ruining Obama's chances in November and are somehow proud of that. They come out and say they'll vote for McCain instead of Obama. How hypocritical. If you erase the names and put the philosophies of McCain, Obama, and Clinton down without identification, two will be almost identical and the other will be far different. The two that are similar are Clinton and Obama. To say you want Clinton and then vote McCain is foolish. You are going against what you feel is best for the country. That's selfish. Think about what the last 8 years were like. Then think about how good it could be if we had a democrat as president. Trust me, if you want Hillary to be president someday, vote Obama. She'll have a powerful role in the movement and her day will come.

    August 25, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. You've been warned

    oh my god, what a nut that woman is !

    I mean, it alright to be upset...but really, voting for a man who could careless about women rights...

    oh my god...people are really that retarted....

    August 25, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. tom

    it is either Obama or Mc Cain, forget about Clinton she lost you can go Independent, republican or whatever you might call it but Hill Clint is done, get over it people. Time to pick sides now those who want to go for Mc Cain go we are ok with or without you, it is a shame that this cencury we still have millions of people who lack common sense and the do not understant the meaning of the word defeat, well come to Zimbabwe I thought this was only in the third world countries,

    well come to a real human being nature, this is what it takes to be a human being

    August 25, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. gerry

    hang tough hillary supporters hillary is a brilliant democrate and
    has always been there for us
    but this time we must part,, there is nothing she can do about the way obama and his liberal leftys have disrespected her and us calling us disgruntled women i happen to be a forty year old white guy
    support mc cain show them we count

    August 25, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  14. Tired of W, OH

    If you're gullable enough to believe the RNC lies, go ahead and vote for McCain. It's well known that the RNC targets the uneducated voter. Their base is the ignorant that votes for the "shiny object" issues like gun control and gay marriage while ignoring the issues that truly affect their lives like the economy and the energy independence.

    Go ahead. Ignore your values. The GOP are looking for a few dumb men (and women).

    August 25, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. Dina

    Hilary is still giving speeches where she refers to Barack as "her opponent." What's up with that? She's really on board the Obama train, huh?

    Surely no women-focused person would vote for John McCain or any other republican. Any Hilary backers who vote for John McCain are actually republicans with republican views, including those about leaving the poor to fend for themselves and denying women any abortion rights. I think it's time we stop regarding them as democrats who's votes we are losing. I refuse to believe they had ever planned to vote for a democrat – even if it was Hilary. They are too short-sighted for that. With John McCain as president, the Supreme Court will be under complete GOP control – that hurts women and their issues far more, and far longer than it will hurt Barack Obama.

    August 25, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. MsAnnette , AR

    CNN, I watched your news all weeked and it is horrible the way you ran negative after negative segments on Obama. Most of the guests you choose were allowed to rant and rave against Obama almost non-stop, no matter that most of the things they said were inaccurate.

    You are trying to create negative news for the Obama-Biden camp by pushing Hillary and McCain. You showed the McCain ads so many times, I know them by heart.

    CNN used to be "the best political team on television" but no more. It seems your sole objective is to help the crazy PUMA's and the McSame followers get out their message.....DIVISION AND DESTRUCTION!!!


    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Ed

    No Clinton supporter in right conscious can vote for McCain – they are worlds apart. However, Clinton and Obama share the same goals and plans. At this point, I truly suspect that most of the people trying to sustain the conflict and supposedly for Clinton are really just republicans in disguise trying to divide the Democratic party.

    I voted for Clinton in the primaries, as did many of my friends, but we are now fully behind Obama and will vote for him in November without a doubt.

    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Michelle, PA

    How sad.

    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Obama 08:60 year old, white, female

    Why isn't Obama's new ad getting the same free advertising as McCain's ads and videos? What about the joint press release by the Clinton and Obama campaigns. What happened to fair and balanced??

    ...imagine, a "few dozen" gathered in disbelief??..they sound like the lunatic fringe to me!!

    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Israel MN

    This folks doesn't represent Hillary supporter. I am 100% hillary supporter and I am voting for Obama. I really have to be dump and stupid to do otherwise.

    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. Terry

    All you have to do is read these CNN blogs to see who has the "angry backers"....if you support any other candidate besides Obama, you're dubbed by Obama-kins as racist, a PUMA, angry, stupid, or why am I supposed to want to come over to that crowd!?!? BTW, you folks might want to drop the "McCain's too old" rhetoric, your running mate may be offended by that....

    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. jen

    This is the same women who gave money to Bush in 2000 and 2004

    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  23. Doris

    Thats funny.....almost ignorant.....


    OBAMA 08'

    August 25, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |

    Incredible that so many "Democrats" will leave their beliefs, morals, and future at the door, out of spite.

    August 25, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  25. Defected Republican

    If you are stupid enough to vote for McCain b\c Hillary didnt win. I hope you can keep your head above water for the next 4 years. Think about the question being asked "ARE YOU BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE 8 YEARS AGO?"

    Obama 08

    August 25, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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