ABC News’ Molly Hunter Reports: While there may be some residual bitterness after Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid defeat, her most loyal supporters are now shifting gears, warning Clinton’s strong base of women supporters against swinging toward presumptive Republican Sen. John McCain.
"We are here to sound the alarm bell," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, D-Fla., on a conference call with reporters Wednesday.
"In order to advance the progress that women have made in the last decade and in order to improve the lives of women and their children, the last thing in the world that women need to do is vote for John McCain," she said.
"Senator McCain is out of touch with the lives these women are leading and he is against many of the policy positions that they hold," added Ellen Malcolm, president of EMILY’s List, a national organization that fundraises for pro-choice women candidates, on the Wednesday conference call with reporters.
Clinton’s steadfast women supporters, some of whom vowed never to look beyond Clinton’s candidacy, must now choose between Obama and McCain. Malcolm and Shultz, both early supporters of Clinton’s presidential bid, say that choice becomes clear when you look at McCain’s record.
They pointed to McCain’s consistent anti-abortion voting record, his support for the Iraq war, and his failure to vote on the Fair Pay Act, a bill that would restore workers’ ability to go to court in cases of pay discrimination.
Malcolm called talk from the McCain campaign about picking up Clinton’s female voters a "pipe dream."
They cited a Gallup poll released Wednesday showing presumptive Democratic Sen. Barack Obama leading McCain among women likely voters by 13 percentage points, up from 5 percentage points last week before Clinton’s concession.
In Clinton’s last week of candidacy, Gallup had Clinton leading McCain by 12 points.
That’s a sign, they said, that women are flocking to Obama’s candidacy.
"There is a real fear that John McCain will be dangerous for women," Shultz said, "He will impede our progress if he becomes President of the United States; he is wrong on the issues that matter to women most."
Malcolm said white, non-college educated women will be the critical lynchpin to Democratic success and to Obama’s victory in November.
"Women have the power to determine the results of this election," Malcolm said.