Clinton supporters in Minnesota not sure if they can let goby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
All eyes at Denver's Pepsi Center will be on New York Sen. Hillary Clinton tonight when she delivers her speech to the Democratic National Convention. Democrats have been hoping to leave the convention united behind the presumptive nominee, Barack Obama. But the sting from a bruising primary battle and questions about Obama's experience have left some delegates, and some voters back home in Minnesota, wondering if they'll support Obama at all.
Denver — Delegates who pledged their support to Hillary Clinton during the primary season are conflicted on how they'll vote during the roll call of the states Wednesday night.
Some want to stick with their candidate, even though they know she doesn't have enough support to win the nomination. Others think it's best to unify behind Barack Obama.
Jackie Stevenson, a member of Minesota's delegation and longtime supporter of Clinton, said she isn't sure what she'll do when it's time to vote.
"I really don't know. I have been there with her from the very beginning at the DNC, before a lot of people even knew she was a candidate," said Stevenson. "I've been kind of heartbroken by the whole thing."
Stevenson said the entire delegation will unify behind Obama once the convention is over. But it's no guarantee that voters across the country will follow suit.
The presidential campaigns say a bulk of the Clinton supporters are up for grabs in November, and it's clear that Obama has some work to do.
"I've thrown my vote away enough, but at 60, I'm taking it back now," said Nancy Carroll of Roseville.
Carroll is an avid Clinton supporter who says she will not vote for Obama, no matter what. She says Hillary Clinton is stronger on the issues and more experienced.
"If you were the boss and you had an opening, and you had a person with eight years experience, energy, qualifications, everything you needed -- and you had one with two years of qualifications but not really in the same area, who would you hire?" Carroll said. "If you wouldn't do it for a stupid job in corporate America, are you going to hand your country over to someone like that?"
Carroll is the type of voter who makes Democratic officials in Denver nervous. She says she's thinking about voting for Republican John McCain or a third party candidate, instead of Obama.
McCain's campaign is targeting disgruntled Clinton supporters, and running ads trying to win them over.
Carroll says she won't vote for Obama, and some other voters who back Clinton say they need some more convincing.
"I'm not going to say that I won't vote for him, said Jessica Hauser. "He just hasn't given me any reason to vote for him right now."
Hauser is a college student from St. Paul. Like Carroll, she was backing Clinton because she thought she was more qualified.
Hauser said she's disappointed with Obama's recent support for limited offshore drilling, and for his support of the Foreign Surveillance Bill.
But Hauser said she won't vote for McCain, and may choose a third party candidate. She disagrees with Democrats who say she's wasting her vote on a third party candidate, and doesn't care if Hillary Clinton tells her who to vote for.
"I respect Hillary and I thought she was a great candidate. But I'm not going to blindly follow whoever she tells me to throw my support behind," said Hauser.
Obama's campaign has ramped up efforts to convince skeptical Democrats and middle-of-the-road voters to reconsider Obama. The campaign has held several roundtable discussions on the economy -- a key issue in the campaign.
They have also started holding Women for Obama rallies across the state and nation.
About 600 people, mostly women, attended a Women for Obama event last week in Minneapolis. The campaign showed a video that highlighted Obama's support for health care. It also noted that he was raised by a single mother and that he's the father of two daughters.
DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke at the meeting and focused on the differences between Obama and Mccain.
"You look at what it means for tax policy and the economy. When I think what McCain wants to do, it reminds of having that TV Land channel on. The one that keeps showing the reruns of Leave it to Beaver, because it's just going to be four more years of the same," said Klobuchar. "It's going to be like Gilligan's Island. We never get off the island."
Other Democratic leaning groups are also ramping up their efforts on Obama's behalf. Officials with labor unions say they'll highlight Obama's stance on bread-and-butter issues by knocking on doors, making telephone calls and by sending out millions of pieces of campaign literature.
Officials with Planned Parenthood say they'll run ads highlighting the differences between Obama and McCain on the abortion issue.
- All Things Considered, 08/26/2008, 6:07 p.m.