Obama doubts Clinton backers will cause trouble
August 7, 2008
CHICAGO ” Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Thursday dismissed suggestions that the nominating convention could be marred by tensions between his supporters and the die-hard backers of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
At the same time, Clinton assured her supporters in an online chat that “Sen. Obama and I are working together to make sure it’s a big success.”
Obama clinched the nomination after a sometimes bitter primary contest with Clinton. Amid reports that some Clinton backers hope to raise her profile at the convention or even continue to push her candidacy, Clinton and Obama were publicly trying to ease the strained relations that exist between some of their supporters.
Flying home to Chicago, Obama told reporters on his campaign plane that he talked separately this week to Clinton and her husband, the former president, and that they were enthusiastic about having a smooth convention at the end of the month in Denver.
“As is true in all conventions, we’re still working out the mechanics, the coordination,” Obama said. One such issue is whether there will be a convention roll call on Clinton’s nomination, he said.
Clinton has not said whether she will seek a formal vote on her bid for the nomination. For an online chat on her Web site, she wrote Thursday that she and Obama will ensure Democrats are “fully unified” going into the fall presidential campaign.
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“We will ensure that the voices of everyone who participated in this historic process are respected,” she wrote.
Clinton was expected to deliver a prime-time address to delegates on Aug. 26, the second night of the convention. With the delegate roll call planned for the next evening, Obama was set to accept the nomination with a speech on its fourth and final night.
“We will ensure that the voices of everyone who participated in this historic process are respected and our party is fully unified heading into the November election,” Clinton wrote. “While no decisions have been made yet, I will make sure that we keep you up to date and involved with all of the convention activity.”
One person asked Clinton directly: “Are you truly supporting Sen. Obama and encouraging your supporters to do the same or are you just saying what you have to?”
Insisting that she was sincerely behind Obama, Clinton wrote: “I am completely committed to helping Sen. Obama become the next president of the United States and urging all of you to do the same. We share a commitment to universal health care, bringing an end to the war in Iraq, and getting back to an economy that works for working families again.”
Another posted a note saying he hopes Clinton becomes Obama’s running mate. In her response, Clinton repeated that she will do whatever Obama asks her to do but it is his decision “and I am going to respect the privacy of that process by not discussing it.”
The Clintons’ stance toward Obama’s candidacy is being closely scrutinized as the convention nears ” particularly after remarks Bill Clinton made earlier this week during a trip to Africa. Asked whether Obama was prepared to become president, the former president replied, “You can argue that nobody is ready to be president,” and said he himself learned a lot in his first year on the job.
The remark was widely viewed as tepid and unenthusiastic, particularly in light of Republican candidate John McCain’s frequent criticism that Obama is not ready to be president.