They were once bitter rivals; now, senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are working together to unify a somewhat fractured Democratic party. The duo appeared together Friday at a rally in Unity, New Hampshire, which Clinton referred to as "not only a beautiful place" but also "a wonderful feeling."
"I know when we start here in this field in Unity, we'll end on the steps of the Capitol when Barack Obama takes the oath of office as our next president," the former first lady said as she and Obama took the stage.
The presumptive Democratic nominee praised Clinton, citing her and husband former President Bill Clinton as important members of the Party.
"We need them. We need them badly," he told the audience. "Not just my campaign, but the American people need their service and their vision and their wisdom in the months and years to come because that's how we're going to bring about unity in the Democratic Party. And that's how we're going to bring about unity in America."
Clinton praised Obama's leadership and called on her supporters to fully support him in his bid for the White House. For those supporters choosing to support presumptive Republican nominee John McCain over Obama, she said, "I strongly urge you to reconsider."
Supporting the Arizona Senator is like supporting President George W. Bush, Clinton said.
"In the end, Senator McCain and President Bush are like two sides of the same coin, and it doesn't amount to a whole lot of change," she told the crowd. "If you think we need a new course, a new agenda, then vote for Barack Obama and you will get the change that you need and deserve."
"I know that he'll work for you. He'll fight for you, and he'll stand up for you every single day in the White House," Clinton said, echoing one of her former campaign slogans.
Stressing unity, the former first lady told the crowd, "We are one party; we are one America, and we are not going to rest until we take back our country and put it once again on the path to peace, prosperity and progress in the 21st century."
Obama was full of praise for his former rival, telling the crowd, "She rocks."
"For 16 months, Senator Clinton and I have shared the stage as rivals for the nomination, but today I could not be happier and more honored and more moved that we're sharing this stage as allies to bring about the fundamental changes that this country so desperately needs," the Illinois Senator said. "Hillary and I may have started with separate goals in this campaign, but we made history together."
The event was their first joint public appearance since Clinton left the race in early June.
The shared support has been building in recent weeks, and Thursday night the senators appeared alongside one another at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., full of praise for the other's campaign.
Echoing a sentiment he often repeats, Obama told the crowd that he is a "better candidate as a consequence of having run against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Earlier in the week, Obama urged his supporters to help Clinton pay some of her estimated $10 million in campaign debt. Thursday, Obama and wife Michelle put their money where their mouths are and each donated the maximum $2,300 to Clinton's campaign.
Clinton, whose support for Obama as an alternative to McCain was evident during the waning weeks of the primary season, has been even more vocal in her support for the Illinois senator.
"We have to make it a priority in our lives to elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States," Clinton said in Washington.
"I know my supporters have extremely strong feelings, and I know Barack's do as well," she added. "But we are a family, and we have an opportunity now to really demonstrate clearly we do know what's at stake, and we will do whatever it takes to win back this White House."
Obama said he respected Clinton's supporters, noting the uniqueness of their relationships with the former first lady. However, he was clear about his appeal for their support.
"Senator Clinton and I at our core agree deeply that this country needs to change," he said. "I'm going to need Hillary by my side campaigning during his election, and I'm going to need all of you."
Clinton's outspoken campaign manager Terry McAuliffe said on CNN Friday that an Obama-Clinton ticket could result in four terms at the White House.
"I think if she were on the ticket I think we honestly ... would control the White House for 16 years," McAuliffe said.
However, he reiterated Clinton's support for Obama, no matter whom he picks for a running mate.
"But Sen. Obama's got to make that decision himself. He's got to do what he thinks is in the best interest of the campaign and country," McAuliffe told CNN. "Whatever he decides to do, whatever role for Hillary, she is ready to go. And she will do whatever they ask her to do in the fall campaign."
by RTT Staff Writer
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