August 29th, 2008
01:52 PM ET

The long road from Hillary to Barack

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/29/art.dncconvention2.jpg]

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

From the west coast to the Gulf of Mexico, we gathered voters to hear their opinions before they make it to the voting booth. Our question– How are they reacting to Senator Barack Obama and the calls for unity at the Democratic National Convention? We asked three groups of voters, seniors, Latinos, and women, to gather and watch the conventions and share their impressions. Voting in the democratic primaries show these voter groups had strong support for Hillary Clinton. The big advantage raised red flags for the Obama campaign.

Our first stop was the San Diego costal suburb, of Encinitas, CA, a community known for beautiful views, surfing, and perfect weather. We gathered a group of seniors at the Encinitas Senior Center and the reactions were telling. Only one of the seniors in the group had Obama as their top choice when the political season started. Of the 5 seniors who watched the convention, one was a McCain supporter, two were Clinton supporters and one voter backed Ron Paul. After Michelle Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton gave their speeches on Monday and Tuesday, we asked the group for their reactions.

Ann Cassidy backed Hillary Clinton from the start. On Monday she was undecided, still disappointed that her candidate lost the primary, but after 2 days of watching the convention she says she is impressed.

“After listening to their background and seeing these wonderful people” said Cassidy immediately after Senator Clinton’s speech, “I’m more impressed with Obama now.” A registered Democrat Meyer Sherman says the person who made the biggest impression to him so far was Michelle Obama. “She comes across well,” says Sherman, “too bad, she’s not running for president.”

From the perfect weather in Encinitas we moved to the searing heat of Phoenix, AZ to watch former President Bill Clinton deliver his speech to endorse the Obama/Biden ticket on Wednesday evening. Phoenix is also the home of Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain. But at La Oaxaca Mexican restaurant, Latino voters gathered to watch the speeches from the democrats. Many in the crowd were strong Hillary supporters and now lean toward McCain. Carlos Galindo-Elvira says he was so supportive of Hillary Clinton that he has yet to remove his sign from her front yard, and the convention had done little to impress him.

“Not yet.” answered Galindo-Elvira, when asked if he was motivated to vote for Obama now that Hilary Clinton was not the democratic nominee, “I’m not even lukewarm.”

Other Latinos in the restaurant showed unwavering support for McCain, but there were many who backed Obama enthusiastically.

“Michelle, Barack, Joe, I feel they have all been speaking from the heart!” said one Latino voter who added he used their first names because,” I feel like I know them”

On Thursday we joined young professional women in the Bayou. Female voters in New Orleans joined at the Monkey Hill Bar to watch Senator Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech. Katie Gifford, a New Orleans school teacher says she was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton and was now an undecided voter. After watching Obama’s speech, she says she was impressed.

“The amount he talked about education was very inspiring.” said Gifford, who added, she was still undecided. LaToria Williams says she was a Hillary Clinton supporter at first, but grew unimpressed as her attacks on Barack Obama grew during the long primary season. “In my opinion, if I wasn’t moved before, I have been moved today.” Said Williams who was moved to tears during Senator Obama’s speech.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Andrea

    McCain is not out of his mind. Obama is a puppet dangling from the democratic party. it was quite obvious from the huge party that was in Denver's stadium. Shame shame with the fluff.

    August 30, 2008 at 5:32 am |
  2. desir

    Hi, I think that Barack Obama does represent the change that we Americans have been waiting for. Mc. Cain needs more strength.. he can't stand on his own... and now he worsened the situation by choosing someone with no experience as VP... what is he thinking ? how is she qualified to govern a whole nation when she is so young and inexperienced ? As voters we need to think very carefully before we make a decsion that will affect our lives and that of our children. we need to weigh the options and think of the type of future we desire. can Mc cain really accomplish the job ? think about it.

    August 30, 2008 at 12:24 am |
  3. James, NYC

    Wal-It seems you're in dire need of enlightened. Let me help you.
    Obama's concept for change is simple: A Government of the people, by the people and for the people, which respects the constitution. A Government which addresses the needs of the nation and prepares them to the challenges of the 21st century. A change which will ensure that most American people will not be treated as second class citizens while the corporate world lives a dolce vita at their expense. A change which will ensure that we will never ever send our brave young men and women to harms way for corporate or neo-fascist interests. Should I go on or this is enough for 1 serving? The list is quite long thanks to the miserable last 8 years under the flawed leadership of President Bush!

    August 30, 2008 at 12:17 am |
  4. june

    I wonder how Hillary would feel if we was so shallow as to vote for Plain just because she is a woman?

    August 30, 2008 at 12:16 am |
  5. James, NYC

    I'd love to hear the line of reasoning behind bringing a child with a Down syndrome to this world. Respect for life? As a 43 years old woman, she took a great risk in getting pregnant. She risked her own life as well as the life of the potential offspring. If she'd died during childbirth, her 4 children would have been left without a mother. So, what kind of respect for life is this? Some enlighten me please.

    August 30, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  6. PC Richardson

    It is insulting to women and to Ms. Clinton's supporters to assume that they will support any woman, regardless of her her lack of experience, regardless of her exremist positions. This woman is so anti- choice that she would deny an abortion to a young teenager who is a victim of incest whose life could be endangered being too young to carry a child. Women who had been raped would be forced to live out the nightmare of their experience carrying the child of the their attacker against their will, another assault on their body, on their ability to defend themselves from someone else's power and choices being made for them. This woman Is saying that women are not important in the most fundamental way. How can these pundits say the abortion issue is not important to voters?Maybe people don't remember when it wasn't abailable and legal. The current administration is trying to make birth control unavailable through insurance and government proograms that provide Viagra. This woman McCain barely knew and recklessly passed over more qualified but pro- choice Republican women to pick, is Roman Catholic. Do they they really think any woman with a brain is going to support this ex- beauty queen who has no economic policy experience, education, foreign policy experience, and is opposed to protecting women from assaults on our bodies and our personal choices?

    August 30, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  7. Neil

    Nate youre an idiot. Obama is the only HOPE we have.

    August 29, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  8. Neil

    MCCain is losing his marbles. Who is this girl? He met her one time? I wouldnt let a gardner cut my grass unless Ive seen him at least a few times. He is reckless and its obvious he is doing whatever he can just to get elected. We arent that stupid. If he were elected, God forbid something happen to him but the country would be in the hands of a person with no experience 5 kids one with Down Syndrome.

    August 29, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  9. Annie Kate

    I was very impressed with the Democratic convention – and after being a Hillary diehard for months I finally came over to Obama – McCain helped me make that trip with his choice of a VP. My absentee ballot will be marked for OBama now.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 29, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  10. wal reyes

    After the HOOPLA; after the Hysterics;
    After the EMOTIONS; after the Event;
    After the GLITZ; after the Glitter;
    After the FANTASY; after the Fireworks…




    Yes, we need to understand Obama’s CHANGE!

    Yes- what? Yes- How? Yes- Explain!

    August 29, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  11. Tony Aguilar-Solana Beach, CA

    Just as soon as the Democratic Convention had ended I jumped online to join the Obama-Rama Train! I couldn't wait to make a financial donation.

    McSame McCain has placed the final nail in his coffin and in November the Democrats will hit that nail on the head and send the "Beauty & the Beast" packing.

    If any of the supporters of Hillary Clinton switch hit and vote Republican simply because McCain selected a woman then they should keep in mind that Palin's pockets are lined with the blood money of the NRA. She will give up all her states natural gas and oil reserves to secure her position as a Vice President.

    Let us not forget she has abused her powers in office and tried to interfere in her sisters messy divorce to get a State Trooper fired.

    A woman "scorned" we do not need in any public office. I certainly hope that many of the woman that are witnessing McSame McCain pandering to them realize that this is an insult towards woman kind. How stupid should our next President be?

    August 29, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  12. Sonia

    Obama get my vote no more Mc Cain no more Bush I dont care his VP is women that from women.

    August 29, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  13. WA

    nate – you should have paid more attention to Obama last night he outlined how he was going to pay for his policies and explained each one in step by step fashion! And i think his plan is ingenious! And shows great insight!

    And I also think given McSame as the alternative, Obama is the ONLY, choice, he was always the Best Choice and for those that can't even stand to think about another four years of corruption and devastation, the only Wise Choice. So all in all, He's The Choice! He's the Next President of America! And He will bring equality, prosperity, a President who Cares and Listens to All Americans! And with McSame's latest news flash on his VP all Americans should feel blessed that Obama offered himself to Americans!

    August 29, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  14. xtina, chicago IL

    Gov. Palin knew her pre-natal diagnosis of her unborn child was for Down Syndrome. Unlike many who want the choice to abort a baby with known conditions, she chose to deliver the baby. She should be revered and admired for making that choice and not aborting the child.

    August 29, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  15. nate

    Now that the Democratic Convention and all of its hype has come to an end, discerning voters are still left with a question that went unanswered, WHO WILL ULTIMATELY PAY FOR OBAMA'S POLICIES?
    There are not enough so called rich people to pay for these policies and social programs which means ultimately the middle class will shelter the burden in increase income tax and other misc tax. Taxation is the only way OBAMA will be able to generate the revenue required to deliver his empty promises.

    August 29, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  16. JC- Los Angeles

    As an Independent, the real challenge I have seen surface for Obama is that he has had to spend an inordinant amount of time and enless words trying to seek validation.

    The first ten minutes of Obama's speech last night reflected his challenge; he came across as angry, frustrated and someone wanting to be believed and finally accepted; I was waiting for him to say "just give me a chance."

    After the first ten minutes, I thought Obama found his legs; with our nation on the brink, the voters are going to have to look past all the bright lights, all the words and all the pundits and just give one of these guys a chance.

    August 29, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  17. herb

    All i can say is i will be glad when Nov get here. Yes America, you and I can see McCain was not the sharpest in his class at the Naval Academy and his pick for vp prove that a change is to come about--

    August 29, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  18. jim

    There is no unity in the Democrat Party. The Clinton's made half hearted speeches because they had to. Deep down they do not like Barack Hussein Obama. Barack is only telling the American people what they want to hear. He does not care what the American people want like off shore oil drilling and Nuclear power plants to lessen the dependence on foreign oil. 80% want this. Barack thinks the American people are retards and he knows what is best for them!!!

    August 29, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  19. roberto

    Barack Obama could not have done it any better. He pulled Democrats together. He gave a brilliant speech addressing with ease all of John McCain's banal criticisms. There is no comparison between Barack Obama and John McCain. Barack Obama represents change. John McCain represents more of the same. Barack Obama is young. John McCain is old. Barack Obama is articulate and intelligent. John McCain is just like George W. Bush. The issue is whether most people are better off now than they were when they elected George W. Bush and the Republicans. I think everyone know the answer to this question.

    August 29, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  20. April Westcott

    Shame on John McCain, that he would exploit Sarah Palin and her new born baby, borned with down syndrome to entice voters...Shame on John McCain, that he would choose someone who is not qualified to be Commander and Chief of the United States in an unspoken event...Shame on John McCain that he neglected to choose any other senator or governor whom surpass the years and experience of Sarah Palin...a true slap in the face to them...McCain's thoughtless selection of Sarah Palin is 'exploitation of women to the fullest'...this 'maverick' needs to be 'outlawed' for the goodness and safety of this country.

    August 29, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  21. Gary Chandler in Canada

    I have posted in here MANY times MANY times, and you still do NOT get it. GLASS CEILING - YES ,,, 'In America only' – yes, In the REST of the World NO
    Making history in America – so what? making World history ABSOLUTELY NOT.
    Indira Gandhi – Margaret Thatcher – Golda Meir -Bhutto ( No it;s NOT a singing group lug nuts)
    In the past 50 years, there have been over 4 dozen elected woman leaders, including 1/2 dozen Muslil countries.
    So you might finally join the 21rst century, but it is 'in America only' NOT 'Only in America'
    When King said Biden, 'sometimes leaves the reservation' and when another CNN announcer said 'Richardson could be VP because he is not white'; these comments would lose reporters their jobs in Canada.

    August 29, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  22. Cindy

    It seems to me by what this cross section of people told you, that you interviewed, that Obama still has a very big problem in his party even if he doesn't want to admit it publicly. Not everyone has or will just fall in line to vote for him like he wants to think that they will.


    August 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm |