The controversy later brought an apology from Hillary Clinton, who told reporters, "You know, I am sorry if anyone was offended. It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive."
"I am not a racist," Bill Clinton told ABC News' Kate Snow earlier this summer . "I've never made a racist comment and I never attacked him [Obama] personally."
When asked whether he thought Obama was ready to be president, the former president offered only a tepid answer.
"You could say that no one's ever really prepared to be president," he said.
Some African-American Democrats said going into Wednesday's speech that kind of endorsement wasn't going to be enough.
Democratic convention volunteer Christine Easterling, 59, of Silver Spring, Md., a retired educator, said Clinton has some work to do to show he supports Obama.
"His comments were racist," she said. "But if he knew how to make it bad, then he knows how to make it right again."
Outside the convention hall today, volunteering with his wife for the convention's "green team," Spence Havlick, 73, a University of Colorado city planning and architecture professor, said he wishes Clinton would go back to playing the role of elder statesman.
"We've always been very impressed with him, and I just wish he would continue to be an elder statesman, like a younger Jimmy Carter," he said.
But some of the bitterness of the primary lingered in the convention hall before the main speeches Wednesday. Some attendees still expressed disappointment that Hillary Clinton wouldn't be the Democratic Party's official presidential nominee.
"I still feel like I lost something," Peggy Tanksley, a Clinton delegate from Ohio.
"I remember going through each and every one of those primaries thinking this one is going to push her over," she said. "No it's not, this one is going to push her over. ... No it's not. And so I think it was a continual process of being excited and anxious and let down ... excited, anxious, and let down."
The traditional state-by-state roll call went on until about 6:40 p.m. ET, just after the network newscasts had gone on the air on the East Coast.
The roll call included several delegates cast to Clinton, whose name was formally put into nomination even though she did not win the primary battle.
By previous agreement between the Obama and Clinton camps, the roll call was halted and Obama was nominated by acclamation.
Midway through the alphabetical roll call, New Mexico yielded the floor to Illinois, which had passed its turn previously so that the candidate's home state could be the final one to cast its vote. Illinois, represented by Chicago Mayor Bill Daley, then yielded to the state of New York "home of Hillary Clinton."
And finally, the junior senator of New York, representing her state, moved to declare Obama the party nominee.
"I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote, [that] all votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and that I move that Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States," Clinton said.
Earlier, Clinton officially "released" her delegates, clearing them to back Obama during the roll call vote. She did not tell them to do so formally, although she did just that informally in her speech before the convention Tuesday night.