Hillary Clinton’s speech fired up the party faithful at the Democratic convention in Denver — and probably pleased the Barack Obama campaign immensely.
The convention opened with fears that unhappy Clinton supporters might spoil Obama’s party. But her speech is likely to contribute to a post-convention bump that should last at least until the Republicans wrap up their convention next week.
Clinton weaved endorsements throughout a 30-minute speech, starting with the first line in which she described herself as “a proud supporter of Barack Obama.”
As for John McCain, she called him “my colleague and my friend – but we don’t need four more years of the last eight years.”
In advance, some compared the situation to 1980 when a divided Democratic party heard from Ted Kennedy, who was defeated by President Jimmy Carter during the primaries. Kennedy, in contrast to Clinton, offered only a single line of congratulations to Carter.
Clinton, of course, won’t single-handedly unify the Democrats with her speech, but she hit the right notes to help Obama and to end her own campaign gracefully, leaving her future options open.
She challenged her supporters, some of whom have been reluctant to support Obama: “I want you to ask yourself, were you in this campaign just for me (or) were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?”
She also tied Obama to successes of her husband’s administration. “When Barack Obama is president, he’ll revitalize the economy – As I recall we did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats.”
And she may have gotten off the best line about McCain delivered from the podium during the first two days of the convention: “With an agenda like that, it make sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart.”
McCain, by the way, kept busy on Tuesday with his counterattack. He released a TV spot that features part of a notorious Clinton ad from the primaries. It’s the spot posing the question: “Who do you want answering the phone in the White House at 3 a.m.”
If there’s criticism of her speech, it may be that Clinton didn’t speak personally about Obama, sticking to issues and emphasizing a need for Democrats to win in the fall. Perhaps some animus remains between the two, but Obama’s people likely will accept that in return for Tuesday’s speech.
We’ll see now if she gets involved with the fall campaign.
Clinton’s name is to be placed in nomination Wednesday and she may still get her roll call vote. That remained unclear on Tuesday.
What did you think of her speech? Did she help Obama? And do you think the Democrats should stage a full state-by-state roll call to allow Clinton delegates to cast their votes for her?
— Jim Sweeney