Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded the party's presidential nominating contest to rival Barack Obama, endorsing him and urging her supporters to back him in the general election in November. Mention of Obama's name in her speech drew some boo's from the crowd, though, and some supporters continued to say they will vote for Republican John McCain in the fall. (The Washington Post)
What the commentators said
"Clinton said all the right things in her speech," said Andrew Malcolm in the Los Angeles Times' Top of the Ticket blog, but there were some jarring things about her campaign farewell. First, she looked like she had "clenched teeth" as she carefully read "verbatim her heartfelt words of admiration and endorsement." And all three Clintons—Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea—wore black suits as if they were dressed "for a funeral"—hardly the attitude you'd expect if they planned to help bring Hillary's unhappy but "crucial" supporters into Obama's camp.
Clinton’s “classy speech” was certainly a start, said Jennifer Skalka in National Journal’s The Hotline blog. She “endorsed Barack Obama for a resounding chorus of reasons,” but “the boom of boos that echoed in this historic hall at almost every mention of his name illustrated the depth of the divide in the party.” She did her part to “make peace with her detractors,” but she can’t do the job alone.
Whether Obama picks Clinton as his running mate or not, said John Farmer in the Houston Chronicle, the election could hinge on "how he deals with her." The election is Obama’s to lose, but he didn’t exactly have a strong finish in the long primary fight against Clinton—rather he "limped across the finish line like a runner in deep oxygen deficit." The polls show he’ll face a tough race against Republican John McCain in the fall, and he’ll need Clinton’s “upbeat support” to win.
Then Obama is out of luck, judging by Clinton’s speech, said Michael Goodwin in the New York Daily News. “She didn't pretend to like or admire Obama. She didn't pretend she believes he would be a great President.” All Clinton did was admit that Obama has the delegates to clinch the nomination, and confirm by her business-like tone “that she'll be baaaacccck.”
Clinton still has to decide whether to put her party first, or herself, said Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone’s National Affairs blog. If Hillary campaigns tirelessly for Obama and “helps pull all of her disaffected voters back onto the Democratic ticket, Obama will probably win this thing in a landslide.” But if she “sits out the general election season, or campaigns halfheartedly for Obama, and McCain wins, she becomes the automatic frontrunner for the Democratic ticket in 2012.” The choice is hers.