Molly Brennan of Berkeley was thrilled. She was in the Pepsi Center Tuesday Night when Sen. Hillary Clinton addressed the Democratic National Convention. Molly is president of the Cal Berkeley Democrats, and is studying political science at the University of California.
Being inside the convention hall is about the best education in that field she can get these days. The trick was trying to unify the Democratic Party, after the bruising primary fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The New York senator flat out fully endorsed her Illinois counterpart in the speech.
“I think she made sure to say his (Obama’s) name fifteen times, probably more than that,” said Brennan. Her point was well taken. There have been doubts about the sincerity of the Obama endorsement from both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Stating, and restating the endorsement by Sen. Clinton was an effort to drive home the point.
“I hope her supporters were convinced by that,” said Brennan. We may find out the real answer in November. Almost everyone I spoke with last night, who was in the Clinton camp, is now “on board” the Obama train, though some went reluctantly.
After the rally, one woman who asked not to be identified, told me gruffly, “I’ll give him my vote, but I won’t give him any of my money!”
Karen Rubin is a photographer I met on the train home after the rally. She’s here from New York, and was a big Clinton supporter. “I am resentful,” Rubin said, “I believe the election was stolen from her. I was in tears listening to her because to be frank, she’s the better candidate.”
Despite her disappointment, Rubin will vote for Obama and is upset with fellow Democrats who either plan to stay home or vote for John McCain. But she is concerned Obama can’t beat McCain. “I worry voters will choose experience over youth,” Rubin said.
There were lots of displays of unity Tuesday night. Geneva Jones came from Washington, DC. She originally backed Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), but switched to Obama. Still, she liked Clinton’s unity speech. “It was wonderful, but I expected it,” said Jones.
Her good friend Vera Hall of Baltimore was with her. Hall backed Obama from the beginning, but liked Clinton, too. “I think Democrats were blessed to have two great choices,” Hall said.
For her part, Senator Clinton was fully aware of the dilemma faced by many delegates in this historic race. “And whether you voted for me, or you voted for Barak, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose,” Clinton said, “Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president.” The crowd roared its approval.
The message was not lost on Mahvash Taqi, a 28 year old of Indian decent who now lives in Washington, DC. Taqi can’t vote because she is not yet a citizen, though her application is in the pipeline. “I am supporting Obama,” Taqi said, “And I came here to celebrate the unity.”
We’ll know in November if the unity theme stuck. In the meantime, keep checking back every couple of hours for new updates on www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.