Saturday, June 07, 2008

Clinton endorses and supports Obama

Hillary Clinton has finally conceded defeat and endorsed Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate. In her much awaited address at the National Building Museum she pledged her support of Barack Obama. Rapturous applause slowed her down as she attempted to deliver her speech.

“Thank you, thank you so much, thank you, well, thank you, well, this, thank you, thank you, thank you so much, well this isn’t the party I planned but I sure like the company and I would like to say how grateful I am to all of you”.

She spoke of those who made sacrifices to pledge money to her campaign from young children to pensioners in their 80s and 90s. “To all those who voted for me, my commitment is unyielding”, she said. “18 million of you from all walks of life, women and men, young and old, African American and Caucasian, gay and straight, rich and poor”. But after the self praise and the praise of her supporters she eventually got to the line everyone expected to hear. “The way to continue our fight now is to help elect Barack Obama as the next President of the United States ... I endorse him and throw my full support behind him and I ask all of you to help”
As she spoke there were distinct boos of disapproval, but the majority of the crowd cheered in support. “I understand this has been a tough fight” but she said it was now a time to come together. “I am standing with Barack Obama to say ‘Yes we can’ ”.

In her final summing up she said “Life is too short to dwell on what might have been” and called on her supporters to help put Barack Obama into the White House. “As we join forces with Senator Obama, we will stand united ... for a country we love” she said, “This is now our time”.

CNN covered the events Live from Washington with over an hour of discussion prior to the speech. BBC and Sky News also covered events on the ground but started coverage just prior to 16:00 GMT. There was continued speculation as to how much support and praise she would give her rival candidate. Events were slow to get off the ground and Hillary Clinton had still not left her house at 12:00 E.T [16:00 GMT] when she was due to address the assembled masses. She finally left at 12:27 E.T [16:27 GMT] and drove in convoy to the museum. After a short drive Hillary and her husband Bill stepped into the hall at 12:45 to a loud reception of applause and many supporters attempting to take pictures.

Her speech was a long time coming. As Senator Obama made his triumphal speech on Wednesday Clinton was still talking about fighting on. “What does Hillary Clinton want?” she said to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters. “She wants what she has always wanted” she added. But her desire for Presidency had already been dashed and it looked increasingly unlikely that Obama would pick her as a running mate. It has been an acrimonious relationship between the two main Democratic party candidates and the long running campaign has also damaged the party. There has been much talk of a divided party by political commentators and many rifts that will take time to heal. Some pundits have suggested that Bill Richardson would make a better running mate. Richardson, a Texas senator, had endorsed Obama early on in the campaign and is seen as a stronger contender. But the risk of leaving Clinton out in the cold may further split loyalties from the many Democrats who voted for her. But there is also an issue of having a former president in the wings. The ‘ménage à trios’ of two Clintons and Obama would not play out easily. Barack Obama has as yet made no statement as to who he would like to see running beside him to the White House. He says he wants to make a careful and thoughtful decision. But whichever way he goes he will be criticised.

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