How Hillary Clinton won my vote

Pam Jones
Pam Jones, of Minneapolis, decided to support Hillary Clinton after a bizarre phone conversation. Even stranger, the conversation happened when Jones was making calls on behalf of Barack Obama.
MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert

Originally it was Obama who had won Jones's vote. He did it on Oct. 19, 2006 -- months before he even announced his candidacy.

"I was listening to some afternoon show on MPR, and they were interviewing Barack," Jones recalled. "He was so-open minded, and so able to articulate. I thought to myself: 'If this guy runs for president, I will support him, because what a wonderful campaign that would be.'"

Fast-forward almost a year and a half. Jones, who lives in Minneapolis, is an enthusiastic Obama supporter. She has given money to his campaign, and she volunteers to help get out the vote in Minnesota.

Barack Obama
Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
MPR Photos/Tom Scheck

It's Feb. 5, precinct caucus day.

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"I set aside my whole afternoon, and got on the phone," Jones said. "I'm making calls, and I'm talking to people, and I'm getting jazzed up."

Jones had finished her calls. She was about to go pick up her son. But she forgot to sign out of the Obama campaign's automated dialing program. It connected her to another Obama voter.

Jones asked her what she liked about Obama, and the woman's answer shocked her. Jones remembers it this way:

"Actually," the woman said, "the reason I'm supporting Obama, Hillary actually said."

"Really? That's fascinating! What was that?" Jones asked.

"Well," the woman replied, "Hillary said that women make 68 cents to the dollar for every dollar that men make." Though Jones admits, she might not have the numbers quite right.

The woman continued: "And black women make 10 cents less than white women."

Clinton in Cleveland
Presidential candidate and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks in a Feb. 26 debate at Cleveland State University.
Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

"Is that the reason why?" Jones asked, clearly confused.

"Yes," the woman said. "I figure that if women aren't going to do anything to pull up black women, then I'm going to vote for the black candidate."

She was blaming women for not helping black women close the income gap. It seemed fairly bizarre logic to Pam Jones.

She got off the phone, got in her car, picked up her son, and then it was off to caucus for Obama.

But as she drove, she kept replaying the conversation in her head.

"I was thinking: 'Haven't we been electing men?'" Jones said. "I mean how can we can we say that women are responsible for not pulling us up, when we've never given them a chance to be in the position to change those things?"

Pam decided it was time to give a woman a chance.

She showed up to caucus and cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton.