By Kailani
Koenig-Muenster

8/25/2008

Barack
Obama is the star of the DNC. But Hillary Clinton’s role is being
constantly debated. The Democratic National Committee and most
delegates have been rallying around Obama all week.

However there is a group of Clinton supporters located right
down the street, hoping to push their candidate back into focus.

These are the die-hards. PUMA is the PAC called “People
United Mean Action.” It is a group of Clinton enthusiasts who say
they’ve been disenfranchised by the primary process. They blame
unfair media coverage and fraudulent caucuses for Clinton’s primary
losses. Many label themselves as lifelong Democrats, but have felt so
isolated from the party that they intend to vote for John McCain in
the fall.

“I’m angry at the Democratic National Committee
for doing this and I want to teach them a lesson… and I think in
many ways he was closer aligned to Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama
was,” said Laurey Long, who plans on voting for McCain.

“I will vote for John McCain and I will vote a straight
Republican ticket for the first time in my life,” said Connie Kafta of
Wyoming. “I’ve been a democrat for 38 years, since I registered to
vote, but the Democratic party now the party that I’m familiar
with.”

In Denver, the PUMAs have set up shop in a
house downtown with offices, internet access, and treats spread about.
Supporters have traveled from all around the county to be here from
New York, to California, Kansas, and Texas.

“I couldn’t
stay home,” said Long, who traveled from Los Angeles. “I wanted to
show how unhappy I am as a voter and a citizen of this country about
what’s happening to the country and the election process.”

Monday they held a protest in the afternoon and a candlelight
vigil the evening. But while they all came for one reason – to
suppport Hillary Clinton – their hopes and expectations for this
convention vary greatly. Some have come just to mourn Clinton’s
candidacy, but others have higher expectations about what might unfold
during the week.

“I would like to see an honest and
meaningful role call vote of all the delegates and superdelegates at
the convention, not a closed secret ballot,” said Kafta.

“The number one thing we’d like to see happen is Hillary
Clinton emerge as our nominee and become our next president in
November,” said Will Bower, co-founder of PUMA. “It’s all up to the
delegates at this point. Right now it’s a zero-zero game, no delegate
has cast a vote.”

Bower recognizes that the chances of
Clinton becoming the official nominee are almost nil, but hasn’t given
up hope just yet. “It’s possible. And as long as it’s possible, it’s
worth fighting for. And if it happens, it will be one of the greatest
political stories in our nation’s history.”

The PUMAS have
not been received with open arms, however, even from fellow Hillary
supporters.

“Almost all of the delegates I personally know
are already backing Obama. I’ve been campaigning for the Obama ever
since Hillary dropped out,” said Clinton delegate Don Kipson.

“It’s a joke,” said Obama delegate Ryan Loney. “They’re a
very small part of the party. Most people I’ve talked to want to get
Barack Obama elected.”

Even after Obama accepts the
nomination, the PUMAs don’t intend to stop fighting. They plan on
investigating reports of fraud during the caucuses and want to protest
the system.