By Thomas Kaplan
DENVER, 11:14 a.m. — This may be the Democratic National Convention, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few Republican interlopers in town. And one of them has a message for Elis.
Former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina (left), a senior aide to Senator John McCain, convened a press conference Monday with four supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 who have recently thrown their support behind the presumptive Republican nominee.
And in an interview afterward, she said Elis should think about making the switch, too.
“I understand that Obama is an exciting and impressive figure. He certainly is,” Fiorina told the News. “He is a celebrity — there’s no question —and I understand how intoxicating that is to many people.”
But Fiorina, a Stanford and M.I.T. alumna, said Elis should be smart enough to look beyond that effect.
“Yale students in particular are taught to examine the facts and not let their emotions run away with them,” she said. “And I think the facts around his rhetoric versus his record are quite stark, and I think the facts around these two candidates’ service and track record is quite evident as well.”
But McCain may have his work cut out for him. Early in the primary season, he registered the support of only two percent of Yale undergraduates in a News poll asking students their top choice among all the candidates vying for the Democratic and Republican nominations. For every one student who picked the Arizona senator as his or her top choice, 13 listed Obama.
So will the campaign cede the college-student demographic to the junior senator from Illinois? “No,” Fiorina said. “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”
The press conference Monday, about a mile from convention headquarters at the Pepsi Center, will not be the McCain campaign’s only effort to steal the spotlight away from the Democrats on their own turf this week. On Tuesday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will visit Denver, a campaign spokesman. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will speak on Wednesday, followed by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on Thursday.