Obama lets Hillary have her day at Democratic meet

August 15th, 2008 - 10:38 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 15 (IANS) One-time rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have agreed that she will receive a symbolic roll-call vote at the Democratic National Convention where Obama will be formally anointed the party’s presidential nominee. Obama, aspiring to be the first black US president, agreed to put his vanquished rival’s name into the nomination as a way to “help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion”.

Obama said placing both names into nomination - one night following Clinton’s speech at the convention - would help to honour her “historic campaign” to be America’s first woman chief executive.

Clinton agreed, saying: “With every voice heard and the party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama president of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again.”

“They are both committed to winning back the White House and to ensuring that the voices of all 35 million people who participated in this historic primary election are respected and heard in Denver,” said a statement from the Clinton and Obama press offices.

Clinton suspended her presidential campaign June 7 after a protracted primary battle with Obama. She urged the 18 million people who voted for her to get behind Obama but not all of her backers have followed suit.

Clinton would not be the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major party convention.

US senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was placed in nomination at the 1964 Republican convention and US representative Shirley Chisholm of New York was placed in nomination at the 1972 Democratic convention.

Clinton is scheduled to speak at the convention on the second night - Aug 26. It’s also the 88th anniversary of the day women were granted the right to vote.

Former Virginia governor and Senate candidate Mark Warner will deliver the keynote that night while former president Bill Clinton will speak the following night.

Both of the candidates have called for party unity, but Clinton also has made it clear that she wants the voices of her supporters heard. At a gathering last month in California, Clinton suggested that doing so could provide a “catharsis” for her supporters.

Clinton has also shot down the notion that she might try to upstage Obama. But some of her supporters view the roll-call as their opportunity to recapture the nomination from a man they believe mistreated the former first lady.

One Lady Boomer wrote on a blog posting that she is working with other Clinton fans to convince delegates to vote for Clinton, the Washington Times reported. “Speculation’s a-flyin’ that Hillary will use the occasion to release her delegates to Obama,” she wrote.

“It could happen, but naturally we PUMAs (party unity my a**) will do all in our power to keep her roar fierce and encourage the delegates, who are being systematically threatened, coerced, and pressured to go over to the O-side, to remain strong and committed to the candidate we elected them to support.”

Others affiliated with the “PUMA” group also are saying “Nobama”. They are even urging fellow fans to “watch anything but the convention” to make the ratings “abysmal”. Except, of course, Clinton’s Tuesday evening speech.

“Let the DNC know we don’t care one iota about their convention, their crowning of an unqualified” nominee and “their disgraceful, shameful treatment of Hillary Clinton”, one group urged.

Clinton herself has gone to great lengths to promote party unity since announcing the suspension of her campaign. She and Obama even made a joint appearance in Unity, New Hampshire, where both candidates received the same number of votes in that state’s primary in January.

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