Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sought to heal the wounds of their bruising nominating battle yesterday and unite the Democratic party behind Obama’s bid to seize the White House from the Republicans.
Clinton will give a speech meant to lift a shadow over this week’s convention that will crown Obama, 47, a first-term Illinois senator, as the party’s presidential candidate in the 4 November election battle against Republican John McCain.
The convention’s second day aimed to focus on economic themes and began to lay out Obama’s proposals to aid lower- and middle-class voters suffering in a faltering US economy, which polls show is the top issue in the final months of Bush’s term.
Many of Clinton’s backers have still not swung behind Obama and her speech will be watched closely for her level of enthusiasm. Both sides predicted a united party after Obama’s acceptance speech yesterday.
“She’s going to thank her supporters and then, most importantly, she is going to tell her supporters we all have to come together to support Barack Obama,” Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Clinton’s campaign, said on CNN.
“She is going to fire ‘em up and she is going to draw some distinctions too, and she is going to talk about what John McCain will mean for this country and how we can’t allow him to be president,” he said. “She knows what she has to do tonight. She is going to do it.”
Obama has tried to ease the lingering tension by giving Clinton, a New York senator, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, major roles at the convention. Bill Clinton will address the Democrats today and is also expected to try and heal tensions.
Earlier, Barack Obama’s wife Michelle gave a speech in which she sought to portray her husband as a man of the people, saying that she and her husband were spurred on by a belief that “the world as it is just won’t do.” She also paid warm tribute to Hillary Clinton.