Friday, August 08, 2008

PUMAs want delegates to back Hillary

By Lee McGuire - 11 News - Thursday, August 7, 2008HOUSTON -- Democratic Party delegate Roger Harris has heard the cheers for presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama. He has also heard the silent message coming in his e-mail box.

“The first round I got 99 (e-mails). The second round I got 50 and the next round I got 60. All in the same day,” said Harris, who will be an Obama delegate to the party's national convention.

The messages are from the PUMA political action committee. A PAC that is urging delegates to stick by Hillary Clinton and cast their votes for her at the party's nominating convention.

“I think it would ratchet up the intensity of people who feel passionately about their particular candidate to see that one or the other makes the final cut,” said Harris.

The PUMA PAC is an independent group and is not associated with Hillary Clinton. In fact, on Thursday she said she hopes the party will be fully unified at the convention in Denver later this month.

Still, she has yet to resolve whether she is going to put her name in for a vote during the convention.

The PUMA PAC hopes she does. The group told 11 News that it's also urging Clinton to challenge Obama to a vote at the convention.

A vote the political group said would heal the party, not divide it.

“You can't achieve unity by telling one side to shut up,” the PAC said in a statement to 11 News. “You have to let the delegates vote for their candidate on the first ballot.

“The fact is, (the party is) extremely split.”

So, despite bowing out of the race and throwing her support behind Obama, does this mean the race is not over?

“I wouldn't call it mischief. I'd call it good intentions. Hillary Clinton not only ran a good race, but also like Barack Obama, was a first,” said 11 News political expert Bob Stein.

A competition many thought was over is now being waged one delegate at a time.

“There are people who would say, ‘well it's mudslinging,'” said Harris. “But you know competition is part of what this country is all about.”
Read more on KNOU HOUSTON

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