Clinton, Obama supporters still at odds

07/09/08 Mitch E. Perry
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After Hillary Clinton joined Barack Obama at a campaign event in Unity, New Hampshire, late last month, some Democrats worried that the bitter race for the nomination would leave the party split. Today, there are indications that tension still exists between supporters of the two candidates.

The New York Times reported today that several donors to Obama are balking at helping pay off Clinton’s campaign debt, said to be more than $20 million.

The Times reports that so far Obama donors have come up with less than $100,000, which one unidentified Clinton supporter calls "a paltry sum."

Ana Cruz is the former spokesperson for Florida for Hillary. She said it was important not to make too much about this latest story.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that officials with both Clinton and Obama are negotiating what type of role the New York senator will have at the convention – and whether her name will be put into nomination. Clinton won 1,600 delegates, and it has become, in the words of Democratic consultant Donna Brazile, "a bone of contention."

New Yorker Amy Siskind is a Clinton supporter and a founding member of Suskind says Clinton received more than 50 percent of the popular vote during the primaries and deserves to be honored.

As the primary season was winding down, some disgruntled Clinton supporters said they would support John McCain in the fall. Analysts discounted some of those comments, saying that those Democrats, many of them women, would ultimately support the party standard bearer. And that may still be true, but an analysis of campaign finance records conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics indicates not all are contributing to the Obama campaign.

The analysis shows shows that while 115 individuals who had donated at least $1,000 to Clinton made their first donation to Senator Obama, 115 other former Clinton backers made their first big donation to John McCain.

And in a poll released just last Friday by CNN and Opinion Reearch found that nearly a third of those who voted for Clinton in the primaries said they would stay home in November rather than vote for Obama.

Siskind said part of that poll result is the way Obama has treated Clinton.

Siskand and about 40 other prominent Hillary Clinton supporters in New York got together about a few weeks and formed She says her group runs the gamut of those who are actively supporting Barack Obama, to those who are supporting John McCain.

Tampa Democratic political consultant Ana Cruz said she recently had the opportunity to engage both Obama and Clinton in Washington recently, and said it was important for the two to campaign actively in Florida for Democrats to take the Sunshine State in November. The Times reported today that Clinton owes an estimated $12 million to consultants like former chief strategist Mark Penn – she also lent her campaign more than $11 million. Clinton has told her fundraisers that she does not expect them or Obama donors to re-pay that personal debt.

Clinton and Obama will engage in fundraisers in New York City both tonight and tomorrow night.

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