Clinton Campaign Ends - Endorses Obama

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 3:58pm.

Hillary Clinton on Saturday formally ended her quest to be America's first woman president and endorsed the Democratic party's new champion, White House nominee Barack Obama.

Clinton, once seen as the inevitable nominee, bid goodbye to a big crowd packed into Washington's National Building Museum, after her rival clinched the nomination Tuesday following a turbulent campaign.

"The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passions, our strengths and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States," Clinton told cheering supporters.

"Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him."

Supporters still grieving over her defeat had gathered in snaking lines under a pounding early summer sun to hear the speech in the museum's ancient Rome-style Great Hall, framed by ornate pillars and open galleries along the walls.

Terry O'Neill, a Clinton supporter from Bethesda, in suburban Maryland, said it was now up to Obama to win her, and the former first lady's 18 million primary supporters over.

"She earned my support by her leadership on issues important to me," she said.

"I know he is open minded, he is pro-choice (backs abortion rights) he is a Democrat. Now it is up to him to earn my support."

Clinton's constituency of white, working class voters, women and Hispanics could play a key role in sending Obama to the White House, expanding his powerbase of African-Americans, young voters and more affluent Democrats.

But Republican John McCain is already making a major play for Clinton's bereft faithful, especially the legions of white, working class women who rallied to her side in battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Former president Bill Clinton, a controversial presence throughout his wife's campaign and daughter Chelsea joined Clinton for the final act.

Clinton began to build bridges with Obama, after an often bitter campaign in a secret meeting with Obama on Thursday night, which fanned more speculation about her vice presidential prospects.

The New York senator's campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said earlier her mission now was to rally the party to defeat McCain in November's general election and to close ranks behind Obama in his own historic White House bid.

"She will do anything, she has made that clear. She will do anything she can to help Barack Obama," he said, as Clinton held a party at her home Friday in an upscale Washington neighborhood to console laid-off campaign staffers.

Clinton's speech was the final act in a near 17-month odyssey which has encompassed two winters, the snows of Iowa and the dry heat of Nevada, gritty towns of Pennsylvania and swank Hollywood fundraisers.

The former first lady, 60, was once a prohibitive front-runner, leading national polls by huge margins last year, but her campaign was stunned by her loss in the leadoff Iowa caucuses on January 3.

She pulled off a dramatic comeback in New Hampshire days later, but her front-runner strategy -- she ran virtually as an incumbent -- was buckled by Obama's soaring message of hope and change, and superb campaign organization.

After she failed to knock Obama, 46, out in the Super Tuesday nationwide primary contests in February, the former first lady was always behind, despite clinging on with famous victories in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The Illinois senator is heading into the general election with the ability to raise significantly more money than his Republican opponent, Democratic officials say.

Party leaders expect Obama to surpass the more than quarter-billion dollars he amassed during the primaries, the Washington Post reported.

Obama has raised 265 million dollars over 15 months, and he had 46 million on hand at the end of April, according to the paper. McCain finished the same period having raised 96 million dollars.

On Monday, Obama will embark on a two-week tour focusing on economic woes facing many Americans, apparently targeting blue-collar Democrats who often favored Clinton over him.

AFP - June 7, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 3:58pm.