Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary calls for unity, but was it enough?

By DeWayne Wickham

DENVER - I don't know if it was a heart-felt gesture or the opening salvo of her next political campaign, but Hillary Clinton did what she needed to do tonight for Barack Obama.

"Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines," she said in the opening seconds of her keynote address to the Democratic Party's convention tonight.

And if that endorsement of Obama wasn't strong enough - and it probably wasn't for some - she followed up with this broadside at John McCain.

"This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win. I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

"And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

"No way. No how. No McCain."

That line got a standing ovation from the party faithful who packed the Pepsi Center to hear Clinton's much anticipated speech. But it's too early to tell if what Clinton said was enough to get her diehard supporters to vote for Obama. Some of these PUMAs (Party Unity, My Ass) showed up on television interviews shortly after Clinton finished speaking and said they're still wavering over whether they will vote for Obama.

Earlier in the day I spoke with former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and he expressed great frustration over the slowness of Clinton's supporters to back Obama. "I don't know what else he has to do," Wilder said of Obama's outreach to Clinton's camp. "We've got an election to win."

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