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Pennsylvania

Former Clinton backers won't cross party line for Palin

| Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008

Some former supporters of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign say Republican John McCain's choice of a woman as his running mate won't win them over.

The selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a pro-life, pro-gun conservative, was praised by social conservatives whose support McCain needs to defeat Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Feminists quickly panned the selection Friday.

"I'm an active feminist. It will solidify me against McCain," said Phyllis Wetherby, 80, of Wilkinsburg. "It doesn't change my position toward McCain in the least."

Some voters said they aren't familiar with Palin, 44, a first-term governor and mother of five.

"I don't know anything about her. I'm a union member and definitely against McCain," said Dawn Jarocki of Greensburg, a pro-choice Obama supporter who voted for Clinton in the primary.

Former Clinton backer Jane Sheeder of State College is sticking with Obama.

"I know very little about (Palin)," she said.

Palin, a first-term governor with five children, follows in the footsteps of Geraldine Ferraro, who as Democrat Walter Mondale's vice presidential running mate in 1984 became the first woman to be placed on a major political party's national ticket.

"We should all be proud of Gov. Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain," Clinton said in a statement. "While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Gov. Palin will add an important new voice in the debate."

Betty Bull, 75, of Washington recalls the controversial Ferraro selection but still is surprised by the choice of Palin.

Bull, a Democrat, made up her mind early on to support McCain.

"I think he's the best qualified," she said.

Others thought the choice could hurt McCain's chances.

"I think he messed up. She needs to be home with her children," said Delores Burgess, 71, of Monessen, who is heeding Clinton's call to support Obama.

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