Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Can't quash the Clinton faithful

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton greets members of the New York delegation Monday at the Pepsi Center. “Work as hard for Barack Obama as you worked for me,” she told the Hispanic caucus.

Getty Images

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton greets members of the New York delegation Monday at the Pepsi Center. “Work as hard for Barack Obama as you worked for me,” she told the Hispanic caucus.

DENVER — This isn't going to be easy.

Even as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, vanquished nominee, marked the opening day of the Democratic National Convention by diving headlong into her role as a top ambassador for Sen. Barack Obama, it remained far from certain that Democrats will leave town Friday much more unified than they were when they arrived Monday.

Polls continue to show that as many as one of four Clinton supporters don't plan to vote for Obama for president, and several pro-Clinton groups, including 18 Million Voices, are planning a march and rally in downtown Denver today. Hillary Clinton buttons are nearly as popular as Obama-wear among delegates and party activists here.

"I'd love to think that Hillary supporters will be able to support Obama without hesitation, but for a lot of Hillary supporters I've heard, they're very reluctant," said Tyler Clendenin, 27, a web developer from Tampa and a member of the convention rules committee who wore both Clinton and Obama buttons.

At a gathering of the Clinton-friendly National Hispanic Caucus on Monday morning, Clinton warned that Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party were trying to exploit the rift "to divide us, divert us from what's really at stake."

Indeed, McCain campaign workers passed out fliers downtown Monday inviting people to a "Happy Hour for Hillary" at a local cafe.

His campaign also began airing a TV spot that features a woman named Debra Bartoshevich saying she is a "proud Hillary Clinton Democrat" who plans to back McCain because "now he's the one with experience and judgment."

"A lot of Democrats will vote McCain," she says in the ad. "It's okay, really."

As the convention opened with the theme "One Nation," Clinton and other top Democrats were making the rounds among delegates to convince them that no, it's not okay. Clinton is scheduled to address the convention tonight, when she'll make a prime-time pitch for unity.

On Wednesday, Clinton will hold a meeting with her delegates (whose number nearly equals that of Obama), where she is likely to release them so they can pledge their support for Obama.

That evening, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is scheduled to speak.

Yet even her appearances around Denver — where she's dipping in and out of meetings with Democratic activists to preach the gospel of Obama — seemed to highlight the division, rather than the solidarity.

Consider the Hispanic Caucus meeting, where she drove the crowd wild with a surprise visit before lunch.

The members, representing Hispanics from Florida to California, drowned out her introduction with applause and chants of "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!" and refused to sit when she launched into the reasons they should vote for the Democratic nominee: from health care to the environment, Obama would best represent their interests, not McCain.

"So I am asking you, those of you who supported me, I would be forever grateful if you work as hard for Barack Obama as you worked for me," she said.

Cheers followed. Along with more chants of "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

Wes Allison can be reached at allison@sptimes.com or (202) 463-0577.

Can't quash the Clinton faithful 08/25/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. FHP: 55-year-old pedestrian struck, killed by car in Largo

    Accidents

    LARGO — A 55-year-old St. Petersburg man died late Saturday after he walked into the path of a car on Ulmerton Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  3. Study offers warning for Florida strawberry farmers from global warming

    Agriculture

    LAKELAND — Florida strawberry growers already have experienced a dress rehearsal for the impacts of climate change during the past two seasons.

     Carl Grooms shows off some of his strawberries at Fancy Farms near Plant City Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.  Grooms, President of Fancy Farms. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]
  4. Two Interstate 275 tractor-trailer crashes cause delays in Tampa

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Two tractor-trailers driving in opposite directions on Interstate 275 crashed Sunday within a mile of each other, causing lane closures on both sides for much of the morning.

    Two tractor-trailers going opposite directions on Interstate 275 in Tampa crashed Sunday morning, closing lanes on each side, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Read Anthony Scaramucci's old tweets. You'll understand why he deleted them

    National

    New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci hasn't always shared the political views of the administration he now serves.

    Anthony Scaramucci, incoming White House communications director, takes questions as he speaks in the briefing room at the White House on Friday. [ Washington Post photo by by Jabin Botsford]