Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton, Senator from New York

She gracefully marked her place as one of America's premiere politicians with a firm, commanding, gracious argument on behalf of Barack Obama.

She received a hero's welcome from a largely adoring crowd — although while some pockets appeared heartbroken, some seemed rather chilly — but was quick to state her support for Obama ("We are on the same team") and shoot down the opposition with a catchy slogan: "No way, no how, no McCain."

Clinton took some time to thank her devoted supporters "from the bottom of my heart," joke about the "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits" and reminisce about history made. She laid out her foreign and domestic agenda, offering a convincing argument for a Hillary Clinton presidency, and then neatly, just in time, transferred those goals to Obama, sternly asking her most loyal fans to at last embrace the party's nominee. (She certainly convinced some but may have hardened the hearts of others with her own impressive performance.) After setting forth the Democratic agenda, she had praise for Michelle Obama as a great future First Lady and a warm endorsement of Joe Biden, with a nod to his wife Jill. She spoke about the country's tough fights — women's suffrage, the battle against slavery (wryly quoting Harriet Tubman), the U.S.'s current disarray — but expressed faith in the American spirit, noting that its citizens are "not big on quitting." She had some clever anti-Bush and anti-McCain lines, and explained that her friend John McCain is not the person to lead the country into the future, insisting all Americans must come together to elect Obama. The camera also captured a teary eyed, ruddy Bill Clinton, who could be seen apparently saying "I love you, I love you forever" when she took the stage and clearly relished the speech throughout.

Overall, a powerful, bittersweet event.

Mark Halperin