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-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. Abby

    Yeah. What an insult! Basically women are too spiteful and emotional to vote for their best interests because they didn’t get their first choice. Very, very sad ad.

    McCain voted AGAINT equal pay for women. What part of that don’t you get?????

    August 25, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Eric

    It's ok to vote against your economic interest. It's ok to continue with the same politics that got us into a troubled mess. It's ok to forget we have a brain to think about the issues and rather vote with our lowest emotions (anger, revenge). It's ok to think McCain has the right experience, even though a objective analysis of Obama's experience showed he has the right experience similar to the great Presidents (McCain, just being a senator for too long, compares with the wrost presidents in history). Simple said, it's ok to be stupid and show myself on tv.

    Gee, some think McCain will chose Haillary for vp or that she will plan a coup. Do any of these people take their medication?

    August 25, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. David, Silver Spring, MD

    McCain wants to turn Hillary into this year's Ralph Nader.

    Any Clinton supporter who's thinking of abandoning the Dems in order to either a) write in Clinton or b) vote McCain, should think back over the last eight years and the hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost in Iraq.

    Since McCain is running to continue Bush policies, any vote for Hillary Clinton, like a vote for Nader in 2000, is a vote for George Bush.

    August 25, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. jill

    I am a registered democrat. I've already signed-up to support McCain at his website. Obviously, the DNC does not care if they lose my vote or my contributions.
    I've been reading the book by David Freddoso, The Case against Barack Obama. Good God!! I can't believe this man is positioned to take the DNC nomination. McCain is a known quantity and I certainly hope he wins the election.
    Aurora, CO

    August 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Marcello

    So far, McCain's commercials have featured Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and now Debra Bartoshevich. He must be courting the unemployed flaky dingbat vote!

    August 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. R.I.F.

    "Others expressed hope that McCain might tap her as his running mate on a new "unity ticket." ...

    That statement right there just shows just how delusional these PUMA idiots are. I honestly think that these people are on some kind of drugs or just plain stupid. Republicans HATE the Clintons. Hate the Clintons. They spent most of their time and money trying to impeach Bill and get them out of the Whitehouse during Bill's second term. Why woud they elect his wife to be second in command and possbily first in command (considering McCain's age)? The only reason why the RNC is kissing up to these people is o get votes. Zero of their policies reflect Hillary's platform.

    I hate the fact that the media is giving these people a voice. I guaranty that they will be more of the story this week then Obama. Sad, but true.

    August 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Sandee - Florida

    PLEASE I am so sick of this being Hillary Clinton's coverage and convention. It is totally unfair for such a history making event and time. Those that are not coming around have a problem. It is absolutely sad that someone would put McCain in the whitehouse. Someone who does not share their view or anything else with them politically only the color of their skin. I know that is the problem. I did not realize that there were so many ignorant people in the Democratic party. Obama was not my candidate in the beginning, but he sure beats McCain. Come on people, think with your brain not your prejudice.

    August 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. concern

    Hillary Clinton will loose her whole political life if she let the Pumas blow this election. Let's all think like a puma!

    1 Only white men can only vote for a white man
    2 Only black men can only vote for a black man
    3 Only jews can vote for jews
    4 Only white women can vote for white women
    5 Only black women can vote for black women

    And If the PUMAS don't like who you voted for',Then we become NEO

    August 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. pam Eugene OR

    How will Clinton pay for a campaign for President when she is still so far in debt from her vile attempt to win the nomination. She will have no future in politics if she allows this to happen. Remember...she is broke!

    August 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Thomas Jefferson

    What a pack of cry babies.

    August 25, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. Mary Sarnia Canada

    SHAME ON YOU for picking Mccain over Obama.

    If Hillary supporters switch to McCain then don't whine during the 4 more years of the same.

    In the very end it will come down to hurting the very one you supported. If Obama doesn't win the blame will be on Hillary's turncoats.
    So much for being a team player unifying for the cause of getting America back on track.

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Becky in Indiana

    I'm a Republican voting OBAMA!!! It's really okay : )

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Chuck for Obama

    Blah.. Blah.. Blah. McCain: You blow! What kind of platform is that to run on? Don't you EVER have anything positive to say.. particularly about yourself? I thought not!

    OBAMA-BIDEN '08 & '12

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Ian MN

    Oh wow, please don't let your personal upset destroy this country.....I don't want to get drafted....pleeease

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |



    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |


    Wow, Hillary is a DEMOCRAT! She would never NEVER join a John McCain ticket. That is the fundamental point you puma folks don't seem to get. She doesn't just change her allegiances because she is upset.

    I.e. she is a mature adult and will make the best of a bad situation.

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. JoanG

    I love this. Another person who feels the way I do. Obama picked Biden for VP for his EXPERIENCE. That is what I wanted for the top of the ticket.


    Nader '08, Hillary '12

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. Char for Obama 08 & 12

    Those angry and bitter B!itches need to be arrested!

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Mystery

    Hillary Lost. Why is such a big deal. Let the backers back whoever.

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Pete

    So, in order to "honor" Hillary Clinton, this woman is now going to support a candidate whose policy proposals are the diamtetric opposite of Ms. Clinton. Roe v. Wade? The War? Tax cuts? I wonder how many of these Hillary clowns can actually name a single John McCain policy proposal.

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. San Francisco Liberal

    Interesting that a women who supports a women who supports a women's right to choose...would turn 180 degrees and stab all the women in the back.

    Flip-flop stupidity.

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. NoMcSame

    I hope that the nurse in the ad supports McSame by joining the Army and going over to Iraq to help some of the injured boy's and girls over there. They could sure use her. As a matter of fact I think that all of the PUMA people should do that. Oh, I forgot that they just make noise but don't put their money where their mouth is. If they really cared about Billary she would not be broke and asking Obama and the rest of us for money. Yes, now I understand why he is going after them, its because they are not loyal to anything not even themselves. So do what you want to and enjoy the low down republican party.

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Aliou

    YOu se, Cnn is censoring. what a shame. all that I have written since morning is being censored because it is not in favor of McBush.

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. good2know we go!

    August 25, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. Bruce

    These people are still not able to understand that Clinton lost the primary because she had the wrong message, hired to wrong people, could not manage her finances and, let's not forget about her Bosnia lies. Remember, the sniper story was not simply an exaggeration, this was a completly made up story. How could she possibly be President? By the way, why aren't all her supporters sending her a dollar each to pay her debt? Simple, because they are really Republicans that want her to stay in debt.

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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