Clintons want Obama to win " really |

Clintons want Obama to win " really

Kathleen Hennessey and Devlin Barrett
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

LAS VEGAS ” Hillary Rodham Clinton says she truly wants Barack Obama to win the White House, even though he dashed her own presidential dreams. And she’s going to keep saying it, despite the doubters.

The New York senator was campaigning here in Nevada Friday for her former rival, her first appearance for Obama since the two appeared together in Unity, N.H., in June.

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.

“It’s as old as, you know, Greek drama,” Sen. Clinton told supporters in a speech to a private gathering, which was later posted on the Web.

In this particular drama, the Clintons insist they are doing everything they can to get her supporters on board with Obama. Any reluctance, she says, is not hers, but comes from those who committed to her historic bid and are still unhappy that she did not prevail.

Some of her backers have complained loudly about the way the only female candidate was treated during the primaries. 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.

Yet 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 Clinton’s 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.

“Whatever decision is made, it’s going to be a collaborative decision,” Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said Friday.

“I think all this sort of speculation is much ado about very little,” he said. “We’re just working out the details. However those details play out, that doesn’t change the bottom line, the fact that everyone’s on the same team here.”

They may be on the same team, but in the last week they seemed to be running in different directions.

Clinton said she thought her die-hard fans could use a kind of “catharsis” at the convention.

In political terms, one candidate’s catharsis is another’s car wreck. Conventions at which the party appears divided can prove disastrous to the nominee’s chances in the general election.

Obama told reporters Thursday he thought the negotiations with Clinton aides had gone “seamlessly,” but he also rejected the notion that there might be a need for emotional release on the part of some Democrats.

“I don’t think we’re looking for catharsis,” said Obama. “I think what we’re looking for is energy and excitement.”

Giving both Clintons big speeches at the convention may help generate excitement, but it also gives them a lot of attention at a gathering that’s supposed to be about the nominee, Obama.

And Bill Clinton in particular has at times seemed grudging in his praise of the man who stopped his wife’s able ascent.

Asked earlier this week if Obama was ready to be president, Clinton gave a philosophical, not political answer.

“You could argue that no one’s ever ready to be president. I mean, I certainly learned a lot about the job in the first year. You could argue that even if you’ve been vice president for eight years that no one can ever be fully ready for the pressures of the office and that everyone learns something, and something different. You could argue that,” Clinton said.

The Clintons argued through much of the primary that she, a former first lady, was ready to be president on “Day One,” suggesting Obama was not.

The Obama campaign is pretty tired of that argument, particularly since it has become a key refrain of Republican John McCain.

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