LAS VEGAS - Hillary Rodham Clinton told an exuberant crowd Friday she wants Barack Obama to win the White House, even though he dashed her own presidential dreams — and she wants her supporters to vote that way, too.
“Anyone who voted for me or caucused for me has so much more in common with Sen. Obama than Sen. McCain,” Clinton told her cheering audience in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. “Remember who we were fighting for in my campaign.”
Though she has endorsed her former rival, the speech was Clinton’s first appearance at a rally for Obama since the two appeared together in Unity, N.H., in June.
Easing bad feelings?
In another sign of growing detente between the House of Clinton and the House of Obama, Democrats said Bill Clinton would speak on the third night of this month’s national convention in Denver.
The Clintons’ efforts on Obama’s behalf may ease worries within the party that bad feelings from the long primary battle might erupt at the convention.
She said Friday that “we may have started on two separate paths, but we are on one journey now.” She said her long primary campaign against the Illinois senator showed her “his passion, his determination, his grace and his grit.”
The crowd let her know they still held her in high regard. They cheered Obama’s name and waved his campaign signs, but no mention of him won as loud a roar as Clinton’s introduction.
'Sen. Obama needs all of us'
Still, she kept her focus on making his case, mentioning key Democratic issues where Obama and McCain would differ — U.S. Supreme Court nominations and health care reform, for example.
She noted Democrats have had difficulty reaching the White House recently and said Obama would need a surge in turnout — and registration — to win in November.
“Which is why Sen. Obama needs all of us, he needs us working for him,” she said.
Some of her backers have complained loudly about the way the only female candidate was treated during the primaries. And Clinton supporters have succeeded in getting language into the draft of the Democratic Party platform that says, “We believe that standing up for our country means standing up against sexism and all intolerance. Demeaning portrayals of women cheapen our debates, dampen the dreams of our daughters and deny us the contributions of too many. Responsibility lies with us all.”
The platform committee will be reviewing the draft Saturday in Pittsburgh.
After weeks of private talks about exactly what the Clintons will do at the national convention, no decision has been reached on whether delegates will actually hold a roll call vote that includes her candidacy.
Such a move could disrupt or distract from the point of the convention — showing a unified party raring to return a Democrat to the White House.