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Hillary Clinton announces support for Obama

The saga of the Democratic primary contest for the Presidential election of 2008 now passes into history, but it will be something that will be remembered for a long time. People still remember the 1968 Democratic convention, and it even finds a mention in novels and books on varying topics. Similarly, this contest will be remembered for a long time, even more so because a number of new events came up in this particular convention – the first major US presidential primary where an African-American and a female candidate were the prime contenders and where the white male candidates lost out early. This primary can be seen as a major event in the political history of the United States, but the whole story is not yet over. There is still the small matter of what will happen in the Presidential election, and whether this is the year when the US will see an African-American becoming the President of the United States.
Back to the title, after a long and bitterly contested primary, Hillary Clinton finally gave in and announced the end of her campaign, promising to work for the success of the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama for whom she promised to ‘work my heart out’ for the election. She urged her supporters to support Obama fully and ensure his victory in the election. The fight had gone on for 17 months, and in the end, must have been very disappointing for Hillary since she was leading in the beginning before the primary season started in January, and watched her lead slipping away in a series of upsets.

Marking the end of her historic presidential candidacy Saturday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton urged her teary, angry, disappointed but finally cheering supporters to unite behind rival Sen. Barack Obama, for whom she gave a full-throated promise to “work my heart out” to win the White House in November for Democrats. Clinton gave thanks to her disappointed supporters, especially women, many of whom felt their candidate was diminished by a subtle sexism in the press and a party that diminished her candidacy, mocking her pantsuits and downplaying her achievements.
Many Clinton supporters are convinced that the strength she showed toward the end of the primaries, winning nine of the last 14 contests, including big swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, exposed serious weaknesses in the Obama candidacy among core Democratic voters – seniors, older women, Latinos and blue-collar whites. Some believe having Clinton on the ticket would reel these voters back to the Democratic fold, while others think she should stay off, thinking it would be a losing Democratic campaign.

This will still be a long election. What must be worrying for the Obama camp is that even when it was clear that Hillary did not have a chance, even then there were states that voted for Hillary; and the swing state of Ohio must be even more worrying. Clinton won those voters who would also be strongly wooed by McCain as potential swing voters, attracted by a Republican candidate who does not seem a religious conservative, and who in fact could have been deemed as a candidate just a bit more to the right of Bill Clinton. One option is for Obama to co-opt Hillary as a Vice-Presidential candidate, but that is nowhere being decided right now.

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