Saturday, June 7, 2008

Clinton's Obama endorsement: The right words, but...

Barack Obama at the National Building Museum in Washington, Hillary Clinton said the right words --"I endorse him and throw my full support behind him" -- but the way the words came out -- tonelessly -- it was as if they were shrink-wrapped in Cellophane. In contrast, there was unmistakable passion in her voice when she talked about her historic and now-ended presidential campaign. She proudly noted that she was the first woman to go so far -- and that she got the support of 18 million voters. At this moment, she dropped the conversational tone she had used minutes before for her Obama endorsement. Now she spoke from the heart, and her words rang through the cavernous space filled with her supporters (including husband Bill, daughter Chelsea and mother, Dorothy Rodham): "If we can blast 50 women into space, we will some day launch a woman into the White House."

There wasn't the slightest hint in her remarks about the vice presidency, perhaps because Clinton knows -- has been told? -- that she's not in the picture as the selection process gets underway. Several times she raised an oratorical shield toward the junior senator from Illinois who came from behind to defeat her ("I will work my heart out to make sure Sen. Obama is our next president"), but overall it sounded as if she was giving a valedictory.

Clinton is not a quitter. But perseverance isn't the strength she'll have to summon to carry out her commitment to help elect Obama.

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