By Cynthia Ruccia, Special to The Stiletto Blog 

It was with very mixed feelings I travelled to Denver yesterday. On my plane from Columbus, OH, were Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner – a woman who just might be one of the biggest figures on election night, if the results in Ohio are close – and the state senate’s Minority Leader Ray Miller. We have all been together on many a Democratic campaign in the past. It was very sad to be traveling to Denver with them on my current mission.

It was heartbreaking seeing other delegates and attendees from all over the U.S. swarm into Denver. Until six months ago, I was one of them – secure in my “Democratness” and feeling like part of the family.

Heck, I’ve been a Democrat longer than I have been married (Democrat, 40 years; married, 35 years). I have been extremely involved in Democratic politics: Running the Eugene McCarthy effort in my town as a teenager; campaigning for Congress twice; developing a new fundraising method, as well as writing a book about it and travelling around the country teaching it to other Democrats; and spending nearly 10 years on our executive and central committees in Columbus.

Even though the media wants to exacerbate tensions concerning Clinton supporters who won’t go along, the truth is that these tensions are real and they’re not going away.

I spent my morning with former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; Debbie Bartosevich, a Clinton delegate from Wisconsin who was stripped of her credentials when she decided to support John McCain; Tim Penny (D-MN), a six-term Congressman who had served as former Gov. Jessie Ventura’s chief of staff; and Silvio Silver, a Latino leader from Pueblo, CO.

I first met Fiorina when she came to Columbus and met with 75 Hillary supporters in late spring. After many such meetings, her message is tightly honed and very nuanced. She has such a high respect for Hillary Clinton and what she has just been through. And she has been listening carefully to all of us.

Bartosevich has just done the cutest ad for McCain. She told me that she had never been involved in politics before, but that Hillary inspired her to spring to action. It has been very upsetting to have the party play such a game of hardball with her.

So my mission in Denver was to hold a press conference with this group. The event took place at a privately-owned media studio. It was a real beehive of activity. The room was packed with reporters. Afterward, we all fanned out to meet the press and mostly did radio interviews; the Chicago Tribune was among several newspapers and wire services that also wrote articles.

After lunch, I went to the Pepsi Center for an interview with Neil Cavuto. The security in the convention area was the tightest I had ever seen. A massive perimeter of high fences was set up, and you couldn’t get anywhere near without credentials. Once in, you had to pass through another security checkpoint. I have a lot of food allergies, so I had brought six apples for dinner. Well, they confiscated my fruit – they are forbidden in case someone wants to use them as projectiles! After being cleared to enter, I saw groups of uniformed and armed military, secret service, and police everywhere I looked. I’m sure it would have made me feel safe if I’d thought about it, but my initial reaction was fear. Was this Denver or Iraq?

When I reached the Fox broadcast booth, Fiorina was already there getting her makeup touched up for her sixth TV appearance of the day. I was up next, and while I was waiting who should stroll in but Terry McAuliffe. He bumped my place in the makeup line, but that was OK. Ever ebullient, Terry and I bantered back and forth about this, that and the other. But I didn’t tell him that I was in Denver to tell as many people as possible about why I am a Clinton supporter who is switching my allegiance to McCain.

Interestingly, Austin Goolsbee walked in. You may recall that he was that Obama foreign policy advisor who famously wrote in a memo reassuring Canadian officials that Obama’s NAFTA position was just campaign rhetoric and that he did not intend to follow through on. Goolsby was summarily dumped. Well, it seems he’s back. He and Terry had quite a conversation about how the tension between the Clinton and Obama camps is really nonexistent and how did these rumors get started? Imagine, the two of them making nice right in front of me!!! Kumbaya (gag!).

I then ambled over to a seat in the booth that overlooked the convention hall as I waited my turn with Cavuto. I turned to find myself sitting next to the actor Tim Daley (“Wings”), who was also waiting to go on to discuss an organization he heads to keep arts education in the schools. He also heads up a breast cancer funding organization in LA that enlists the help of men. It’s so nice to see someone use their celebrity for higher causes too. Not bad on the eyes either!

The Cavuto interview was over in a flash. It was time to leave Denver and return to Columbus. My mission was over.

About Cynthia Ruccia: A co-founder of Women for Fair Politics, Cynthia Ruccia has been a Democrat for 40 years. She ran for Congress in 1994 and 1996, and for the Ohio House in 1998. She was a member of the Franklin County Democratic Party Executive and Central Committees for 10 years. She is also the author of “Wanna Win, a Democratic Guide to Fundraising,” and travels around the country holding fundraising seminars for Democratic candidates, county party chairs and campaign workers. She has been married to Nick Ruccia for 35 years, and they have two sons, Daniel, 25, and Michael, 19.

Note: The Stiletto Blog was chosen as an Official Honoree in the Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th Annual Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker, Swampland (Time magazine) and The Caucus (The New York Times).

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