Some Clinton supporters became Obama supportersby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
There was a time when Hillary Clinton seemed like the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee. Polls taken last year at this time showed her with a commanding 15 point lead over any of her Democratic rivals. But at some point the tide turned. Actually it turned at different points for different voters.
St. Paul, Minn. — If Linda Muldoon had followed her heart, she would have been a Clinton backer.
"I have always liked Hillary," she said, "and I think she'd be a good president."
But her head told her not to.
"So, the question is: why wouldn't I just vote for her? I don't think she can be elected, because I know people who just hate her," she said. "The passion of their dislike is just distressing."
Muldoon was used to hearing disparaging comments about Clinton from her conservative friends.
"They say that she is manipulative, cunning, dishonest, 'I don't trust her,'" she said.
But she was taken aback when one of her co-workers -- someone she thought would be more sympathetic to Clinton -- used almost the exact same words. And then there was the last straw.
"My father, who is a life-long liberal and very much against this war said that if Hillary got the nomination, he might vote for McCain," Muldoon said.
That's when Muldoon made up her mind. Even though she liked Clinton, even though she thought there was sexism behind some of the anti-Clinton sentiment out there, she decided if she wanted the Democrats to take back the White House, she'd have to support Barack Obama.
Annie Davidson used to be in Clinton's camp, too. She'd given money. She had a sticker on her car. And for her, it wasn't a conversation with a family member that proved the turning point. It was something she saw on tv.
"It came to the April 16 Debate in Pennsylvania," She said. "Hillary was kind of attacking him on these trivial issues."
Davidson didn't like it when Clinton brought up Obama's ties to 60's leftist William Ayers.
"And revered Wright was still surfacing. And I was just fed up with all of it," she said.
Davidson thought Clinton's performance smacked of desperation, and she didn't like it. She privately started thinking of herself as an Obama backer. Later that month, her phone rang.
"I got a call from the Hillary Clinton campaign asking for money, and I had to say to the woman, 'I'm sorry. I'm no longer supporting Hillary. I'm supporting Barack.'"
That made it official for her. Davidson took the Clinton sticker off her car.
Some Democrats actively defected from Clinton to Obama, and some were just dragged along with the tide. Sandy Fox is one of those. She still calls herself a Clinton supporter.
"I caucused for her. I gave money for her, and most importantly I spoke to other people about her to try to get them to support her," she said.
Fox has plenty of reasons she likes Clinton better than Obama.
"Obama's a wonderful speaker, but I think in the debates she just shone, how smart she was and how strong she was," she said. "And it's always the rap on women that they're not strong enough, and I think she came across as very strong, and compassionate. I think that moment when she cried, I think we sort of got to see behind the veneer of the candidate, what she really thought."
But she started to see cracks in Clinton's inevitability on precinct caucus night in Minnesota.
"There were only three of us for Hillary! I thought 'wow!' He seemed to have more momentum and more enthusiasm and the young people behind him," she said.
So even though she'd still prefer Clinton, Fox is ready to move on with Obama as the nominee.