"Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend. He has served our country with honor and courage. But we don't need four more years of the last eight years," she said.
"In 2008, he still thinks it's okay when women don't earn equal pay for equal work," she said, "With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart."
Clinton spoke on the 88th anniversary of women getting the vote, and in a nod to the 52 percent of women voters who voted for her during the primaries, argued women should "keep going."
"Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going," she said.
Perhaps hinting about her future in Democratic politics, Clinton said, "We are Americans. We're not big on quitting. But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president."
Listening intently and leaning forward in a sky box was first lady Michelle Obama, and beside her, a beaming vice presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Several sky boxes away was former President Bill Clinton, who is scheduled to speak Wednesday night, but not during the convention's primetime schedule.
The former president stood smiling and applauding throughout his wife's speech, remarking to others around him and nodding in approval. Making a rare public appearance, 28-year-old Chelsea Clinton appeared onstage to introduce her mother, calling her, "my hero."
Obama watched his former rival from Billings, Montana at a convention watching party at the home of Democratic field organizer Eran and Carlee Thompson.
The Clinton camp has developed a system to keep tabs on their remaining delegates at the convention by appointing 40 "whips" from key states to serve as point people.
Coached on how to keep protests to a minimum tonight, they were told to spread the word to anyone in their states who might cause trouble by yelling out or making a scene that they should "not embarrass" Clinton with their actions.
Some frantic Clinton delegates unsuccessfully scrambled to compile as many delegate signatures as they could muster in support of a full roll call vote as the deadline approached.
Led by delegates from Texas and Tennessee, the small team said it had turned in 18 full pages of signatures from a variety of states but ultimately fell short.
A young Texas delegate who handed his box full of petitions to a party secretary on the floor seemed resigned to not having enough.
"But we just started doing it two hours ago," he said.
For the Obama campaign, there were no surprises in the script itself.
While Clinton was making final tweaks up to the last minute, she shared drafts of it with Obama's campaign. The Democratic nominee knew what his one-time primary rival will say, senior Obama campaign officials said.
Stakes were high for Sen. Clinton to project that she is fully behind Obama, as the party attempts to heal from the bitter primary battle and focus on election day in November and what remains a close race with John McCain.
Nothing was left to chance tonight, including what color of suite she wore.