Clinton throws full support behind Obama (Third Lead)

June 8th, 2008 - 1:14 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 7 (IANS) Hillary Clinton Saturday endorsed former Democratic party rival Barack Obama’s historic run to become the first black president of the United States, finally ending her own quest for the White House. “I endorse him and throw my full support behind him. And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me,” the former first lady told a cheering crowd in Washington four days after she lost the party nomination to Obama.

Clinton ended her own history-making run to be the first woman US chief executive shortly after noon in the National Museum Building, where she and her husband Bill Clinton celebrated his presidential victories in 1992 and 1996.

Obama who had a private meeting with Clinton Thursday night in a bid to unite the Democratic party behind him in the November presidential election against Republican nominee John McCain did not attend the event Saturday. But his campaign said her concession speech was “very generous”.

“We need to do all we can” to help elect Obama the next US president, Clinton said, wistfully noting that “this isn’t exactly the party I planned but I surely like the company.”

But “the way, 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,” she said of her former rival.

“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. And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.

“I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you … to all those women in their 80s and their 90s born before women who could vote who cast their votes [this year], ” she told her supporters who gave her a record 18 million votes during the five-month long primaries.

“I will continue to stand strong with you… the dreams we share are worth fighting for,” she added.

“To all those who voted for me, my commitment to you is unyielding. You have inspired and touched me. You have humbled me with your commitment,” she said. “Eighteen million of you from all walks of life - women, and men, young and old, Latino and Asian, African-American and Caucasian, rich and poor, middle class, gay and straight… you have stood with me,” she said.

Clinton also touched on running as a woman and the challenges all women face. “I am a woman, and like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious, and I want to build an America that respects every one of us,” she said.

“We must make sure that women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and mothers.”

She also had a message to her supporters “disappointed we couldn’t go all the way”.

“Always work hard, and when you stumble, keep faith… and never listen to anyone who says you can’t, or shouldn’t go on.”

Obama and his former rival discussed how to begin unifying the party after the long and bitter battle of the primaries during a meeting Thursday night shortly after Clinton disavowed a campaign by her supporters to make her his vice presidential mate.

The Clinton camp had made it widely known that she would accept the No.2 slot if it was offered, but the push was viewed as putting undue pressure on Obama to pick his former rival.

Obama said Thursday that “everybody needs to settle down” and let the vetting process run its course.

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