Diehard Supporters Not Giving Up on Clinton
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
As Barack Obama turned to the tension towards a general election battle with John McCain, some increasingly vocal supporters of Hillary Clinton have begun to mobilize. Their message: not so fast. It's hard to gauge the strength of these groups, but they say they'll take their fight to the Democratic convention in August.
NPR's Peter Overby reports.
PETER OVERBY: A few platoons of Clinton supporters were out in front of NBC Studios in Burbank, California yesterday afternoon and evening.
(Soundbite of honking horns)
Unidentified Woman #1: Yay for Hillary!
Unidentified Woman #2: Go Hillary.
OVERBY: The site was chosen because the Clinton advocates say NBC is so obviously biased in favor of Obama. Demonstrators said Clinton has gotten a raw deal from the media and the Democratic Party.
Carrie Bernardy(ph) is from Los Angeles.
Ms. CARRIE BERNARDY(ph): This is a person that cares about every person, from the youngest to the oldest. I feel it in my heart, that she would be one of the most magnificent presidents of the United States of America.
OVERBY: That's not to mention the anger over things like the Hillary Clinton nutcrackers or the sexist wisecracks.
Unidentified People: Hillary. Hillary. Hillary...
OVERBY: There seems to be a fire kindled that only started this spring. Blogs are active, such as Hillary Clinton's Supporters Count Too, and a loose coalition is forming, organizers say. A new political action committee called Women Count PAC spring out last week. So far, it's run full-page ads in USA Today, the New York Times, and papers in Kentucky and Oregon. The ad's headline reads: Not so fast, Hillary's voice is our voice and she's speaking for all of us.
Women Count PAC has four organizers. One is Susie Tompkins Buell, founder of Esprit clothes and a long-time Clinton friend and fundraiser. Another is Alita Black(ph), a professor at George Washington University who's editing Eleanor Roosevelt's papers. They argue that in the long history of the Democratic Party, no candidate has ever been asked to get out of the race. Black says their frustration hit a peak during the Indiana primary. Clinton won it but press reports discounted that because her margin was smaller than predicted.
Professor ALITA BLACK(ph) (George Washington University): Last week we were all together in Indiana, and we just said, okay, this is what we're going to do. Boom. And we just took off with it.
OVERBY: Black says the PAC has raised about $300,000 so far. It can say things and reach people that the Clinton campaign cannot. The first mission: To turn out Clinton backers for a big showdown when the Democratic National Committee's rules committee meets in 10 days. At stake are the disputed convention delegates from Michigan and Florida. Again, Alita Black.
Prof. BLACK: Then we will launch a new series of ads nationally that call on people to come to Washington, May 31st, to stand and bear witness to the actions that are taken by the Rules and Bylaws Committee.
OVERBY: After that they say no matter the outcome, it's on to the convention. Some Clinton backers say they'll abandon the party if Obama is nominated. Black says she is joyously defiant.
Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington.
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