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-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. David

    Clinton supporters don't seem too think if Obama doesn't win, she too would have 2012 backlash and blacklash.

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. sherry for Obama

    Listen you digruntled Clinton supporters , you are doing and acting just the way the republicans want you to. They want you to be mad and vote for McCain and they will stop short of nothing to keep adding anemosity.
    They know they dont have a chance without your vote......What makes it all the more sad is they cant stand Clinton and are just using her to get to you.

    Dont be fooled by the right wing lies. they are a very dangerous bunch of two faced thieves that will try to steal the vote by all means possible

    Democrats unite

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. wanda a.


    OBAMA 08

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Va

    As if the Republicans care at all about Hillary Clinton. It says it all in the first line, they are eager to TAKE ADVANTAGE of disappointed Clinton supporters. It is a shame that some are falling for it.

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. Judith S Rogers, Hendersonville, NC

    How self-destructive and in the end you destroy our country. Bah Humbug.

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. clayton mckee

    What a shame. We are nominating the first African American candidate for the democratic party to run for president of the United States. What a historic moment and yet, we're forced to talk about how the Clinton's feel cheated. Get over it, this is no longer about you!

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Poor Bartoshevich, another "bitter" American. Please stop calling Bartoshevich a Democrat. If she (and other PUMAs) want to vote for a Republican, then call them either Republicans or Independents.

    Leave it to a "dumb and bitter" Hillary supporter to vote against her self-interests and be used by the Republicans.

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Sharon

    The fact that the PUMAs are voting for McCain out of spite is hardly a ringing endorsement of McCain – and using that fact in an advertisement just shows how desperate he is.

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

    Can they use Hillary’s image on an Ad without her permission?

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

    no hillary, NOBAMA! the ad reflects how many, hillary loyalist feel, and will vote for mccain. the disrespect shown to hillary, and bill by the obama camp, was beyond belief. the clintons are icons in the democratic party, and deserve to be treated as such. mccain08! hillary 2012!

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. Gifty

    Yes. Vote John

    August 25, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    "A lot of Democrats will vote McCain. It's okay, really!"

    So is selling your soul to the devil. Just ask Faust!

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

    I am so sick of hearing about these Clinton voters who got their feelings hurt because Obama didn't kiss their, well you get the idea. If you want to vote for McCain, go for it, but do the rest of us a favor and don’t cry when you get the same mess you have had for the last eight years. Don’t cry when McCain does the same thing in Iran that Bush done in Iraq. Don’t cry when McCain makes our situation with Russia even worse and finishes Bush’s march to World War III and the inhalation of mankind. I am sick of reading about a bunch of crybabies, I’m sick of hearing the whining and crying and I have no sympathy for any of you. I don’t really care if you get mad or not, the truth hurts, you are nothing more than a bunch of crybabies who didn't get their way or what they want and now want to throw a temper tantrum. Just as a note, I was a Clinton supporter, I followed her advise and am now supporting Obama. I have enough respect for her to follow her even if that means supporting Obama.

    August 25, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Linda

    Hillary as the Democratic nominee
    or McCain it will be.

    LOOK, the polls are showing it. Some folks actually thought Barry [O} Soetoro was going to pick Hillary as the VP. He didn't just NOT pick the person with more support and votes than himself, he slapped her by mocking her "experience" and her "3AM" ad that hurt him and reminded folks of non experienced new Senator that he is, by announcing BIDEN at 3AM.

    What a loser.

    August 25, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. Pegisus

    I believe a good ticket would be Hillary Clinton and John McCain.
    I don't see why the 2 couldn't run together. I the Primary election you can vote a mixed ticket, so why not have a mixed ticket running together for Presindent and Vice-President. I'm considering to write in Hillary in for Vice President!

    August 25, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Anthony

    What exactly is a "Hillary Clinton Democrat" ???

    Hillary has very little experience and has only been senator in New York. Does that make me a Bob Casey Democrat since he is the junior senator from my home state of Pennsylvania?

    I mean, it's not like the woman has reshaped the party at all. She's a tool who is only popular becuase of her husband...

    I'm tired of the whiny Hillary supporters. Let them vote for McCain, just don't make me listen to them any more.

    August 25, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. A CANUCK

    By her selfish actions...HRC has encouraged her supporters to behave like a bunch of spoiled crybabies......just so she could bask in their adoration until the last possible moment......she didn't lose because of sexism......she lost because she is a Clinton !!!!!

    August 25, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Jill in Chicago

    I signed up for McCain this weekend. What democrats are failing to recognize is that Obama made Hillary voters feel like they are the enemy. It's plain and simple, Obama and his supporters clearly do not want my vote and McCain does. While Biden is a good choice for VP, Hillary would have been a great choice. Axelrod and Obama supporters – LAY OFF – you and your candidate pushed us to the other side with maneuvers like Patti Solis Doyle.

    August 25, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. Javi

    Unity ticket? Hillary is as near to the Anti-Christ (read: Bill Clinton) as you can get for the Republican base. Imagine El Rushbo teetering over the edge of insanity.

    Seriously though, if there are Clinton supporters who feel that Senator McCain best represents their interests and values, then they should by all means consider voting for him. However, others who are continually threatening to do so because of stubbornness, hurt feelings, perceived media bias against Senator Clinton, etc. do very little to make themselves appear as members of a conscientious or educated (I know) electorate. Especially if you feel that Clinton's primary platform was most in tune with your personal beliefs. The fact of the matter is that Senator Obama's platform is SO similar to that of Senator Clinton's. Honestly, the biggest differences that anyone was able to discern through the multitude of primary debates was their distinct personalities.

    August 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. Lorna, NY

    Juvenile...that's all I can say. In 2000, I liked John McCain, today, I don't know who this person is...he has changed dramatically. A maverick no more.

    August 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. JG from MA-Obamabot and proud of it

    PUMAs, explain one thing to me. I know that you will come out in droves on this article, saying "Thank you McCain for listening to us." Meanwhile, during the days leading up to Obama's VP selection, the idea of a Hillary VP was viewed as Pandering. How is this not Pandering?

    Some of you just really seem determined to hate the guy.

    August 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. texas DEM

    Vote McCain

    August 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. Rose

    Whatever happened to voting on The Issues?

    August 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Felice Judkins

    It is shameful that these folks are allowing themselves to be exploited by the republicans. If this woman or any so-called Hillary clinton democrats truly believed in her and her vision, there is no way they could align themselves with the failed policies that McCain wants to continue. Simple truth is that these folks really have no beef with Obama in terms of policy because he and Clinton views are very similar. It all boils down to the fact that there are some people in this country who will just never vote for a qualified man who just happens to be black. You can hide behind whatever excuse you want to purport but it is a smoke-screen and you don't want to acknowledge or to confront your own racial bias. It is sad because true democrats who share the same vision and values would never vote for policies that are against everything that democrats stand for which is "the average american citizen". For those who say you will vote for McCain, go ahead! There is a new wave of voters who are democrats, republicans, independents, balck, white, red, yellow, brown who have caught the vision and see the hope and will vote for change this November.

    August 25, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. real change

    This is someone obviously NOT voting for the issues...obama and clinton were so alike on their stances that they couldnt really debate eachother on the issues because they agree....look at what the candidates stand for, not that they beat you top pick.....I have never met a more bitter group of people

    August 25, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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