DENVER -- With reports surfacing that Sen. Hillary Clinton will formally release her delegates on Wednesday, the question looms: how many of her supporters will follow her lead and vote for Barack Obama during the convention's first roll call vote?
A quick (and certainly unscientific) survey of female Clinton delegates conducted early Tuesday evening at the Pepsi Center suggested that perhaps not many will. When asked if she would vote for Obama, Clinton superdelegate Jean Milko punted on the question by noting that Clinton had yet to release her delegates -- though hinted that she might once the green light had been given.
However, a pair of pledged Clinton delegates both said they feel honor bound to vote for the New York Democrat, no matter how she votes herself. "Absolutely I am a Clinton delegate," said Sylvia Woods, from Tennessee. "I came and was voted on [as a delegate] by the people who supported Clinton, and I have that obligation to do that. We know she doesn't have the votes to win. But we ran on our word that we were supporting Hillary Clinton. ... She's not going to be president, but she's going to be real important for this country. And she needs to know that the people out there really appreciate what she did."
Florida's Shannon Roberts said "my commitment is to support her," even though "she's going to be supporting Senator Obama all the way and will be asking for our support as well."
One female Obama superdelegate who said she has had several conversations with Clinton delegates agreed that many will follow through in the roll call vote no matter what the Senator does herself.
"For those who still choose to support and actually vote for Hillary, I've talked with a lot of them. They have their own reasons. I personally find them, politically, to be looking to the past as opposed to looking to the future," said Massachusetts superdelegate Mardee Xifaras. "At the same time, the future is Friday, going forward. So I'm not going to get hung up on that."
Still, despite their differences, the Hillary and Obama delegates agreed on one thing: the media has over-hyped the division between the two camps. "I am a Clinton delegate and will be voting for Clinton when we do the roll call vote. But when I leave here I will be supporting the nominee, Barack Obama, as hard as i can," Woods said.
"It's overblown," Milko agreed, adding: "I think it's going to be a very smooth, wonderful night. Now, you might have a little demonstration, but there won't be that many [people]. If you have any they'll be very, very few in number."