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And political junkies everywhere breathe a long sigh of relief… at least for now.

Posted by vmsalama on June 7, 2008

I’ve got to give it to her.  Hillary bowed out of what Jon Stewart has very accurately described as the Long, Flat, Seemingly Endless Bataan Death March To The White House by looking back at the last 150 years, noting the strides women have made fighting for equality.  While her words were moving, I don’t think she lost because she is a woman.  She lost because the country is so desperate to lift itself from status quo. Americans need change.  Regardless of whether or not they liked Bill Clinton is irrelevant, another 4 to 8 years of Clinton is only going to perpetuate a cyclical political pattern, and NOT bring about the new political era the country is ready for. – VS

By Lorraine Woellert and Kristin Jensen

June 7 (Bloomberg) — Hillary Clintonformally conceded the race for the Democratic presidential nomination to Illinois Senator Barack Obama and told supporters they should join her in the fight to help him win the White House.

She urged her supporters to set aside any ill-well left from the close primary campaign and put their energy and passion into electing Obama.

“Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been,” Clinton, 60, told a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters gathered today at the National Building Museum in Washington. “We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next president.”

The event capped an historic 17-month campaign that evolved into one of the closest nomination battles in U.S. history. Clinton, a New York senator, had held off on a formal concession even after Obama amassed enough convention delegates on June 3 to clinch the nomination.

Obama, 46, wasn’t part of the event and spent the day in his hometown of Chicago with his family. He and Clinton met privately on June 5 at the Washington home of California Senator Dianne Feinstein and discussed how the Democrats can reclaim the White House, their campaigns said.

`Thrilled and Honored’

Obama said he was “thrilled and honored” to have Clinton’s support. In a written statement, he praised Clinton for her inspiration and hard work on behalf of America. “I know she will continue to be in the forefront of that battle this fall.”

Obama will be facing Arizona Senator John McCain, a Republican who has often bucked his own party and has earned a reputation as a maverick. Both McCain and Obama have shown they can appeal to independent voters and are likely to have a pitched battle for that segment of the electorate.

Clinton may be able to help Obama most with her strongest supporters — women, blue-collar workers and older Americans. Those groups helped her claim victories in general election swing states including Ohio and Pennsylvania during the primary season. She called on them to give their allegiance to Obama.

“I’ve had a front-row seat to his campaign and I have seen his strength, his determination and his grit,” Clinton said.

Close Race

The contest between Clinton and Obama drew 36 million voters to Democratic primaries and caucuses in the last six months and the two candidates were separated by fewer than 100,000 votes at the end. While Clinton won nine of the last 16 contests, she never overcame a devastating 11-contest winning streak by Obama in February that allowed him to rack up delegates.

“She emerges from this campaign an even more powerful national leader,”Ellen Malcolm, president of the Democratic women’s fundraising group Emily’s List, said in a note to supporters yesterday. “And I know she will use that power to help Democrats, including Senator Obama, win.”

Clinton said the nomination race made history and showed the changes that have taken place in the U.S. Obama is the first African-American to lead a major party into the general election and Clinton was the first woman to be a serious contender for the presidency.

“Together, Senator Obama and I achieved milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of our perpetual duty to form a more perfect union,” she said. “That is truly remarkable, my friends.”

Republican Reaction

As Clinton and Obama moved to unite Democrats, Republicans attempted to capitalize on the drawn out and often contentious primary race. Minutes before Clinton was scheduled to take the stage, the Republican National Committee put up a Web site with video clips of the Democratic rivals attacking each other.

Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a former Democrat who was the party’s candidate for vice president in 2004, reached out to Clinton supporters on behalf of McCain, who he supports.

In an e-mail soliciting support for a new group, Citizens for McCain, Lieberman wrote that the phones at McCain’s campaign headquarters “have been ringing with disaffected Democrats” calling to support McCain.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York called Lieberman’s e- mail disappointing and predicted party unity in November.

“Hillary supporters will rally behind the Obama ticket,” Schumer told reporters at the National Building Museum.

Rancor Remains

Rancor from the primary race remains. There was a smattering of boos when Clinton urged her supporters to work for Obama’s election and some in the crowd said they would vote for McCain rather the Illinois senator.

“Obama is a mediocre Chicago politician who voted present more than 100 times while in the Illinois Senate,” said Linda Mahoney, a paralegal from Silver Spring, Maryland. “Even if he gets a female to run for vice president, we will not vote for him.”

Still, other Clinton supporters said such sentiments are the exception.

“Most of these people are going to vote for Obama,” said Mary Hanley, a Washington, D.C., resident who works for a non- profit organization. “Hillary is going to provide a lot of leadership to help bring them along.”

Over the past few days, some of Clinton’s most prominent supporters began a campaign to push her as the vice presidential nominee. Clinton’s campaign on June 5 issued a statement trying to downplay the talk, saying she wasn’t seeking the vice presidential nomination.


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