The Note: Drama Club

We wouldn't have known what to do without you, really. You were with us from Iowa and New Hampshire to Pennsylvania and Indiana, at two dozen debates and inside umpteen FEC reports, through superdelegates and a supersized nomination season.

We suppose you were coming to Denver anyway, your ticket reserved by history, purchased by the media, and punched by a former president.

Now you're coming to your biggest stage yet. Welcome, Clinton-Obama Drama -- enjoy your stay.

Maybe it was better for the Obama campaign to invite you inside, since you would have made an ugly scene outside. Surely Sen. Barack Obama can afford to be gracious, even to you, since he'll leave Denver with the only prize that counts.

But the decision to include Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in a roll-call vote at the Democratic National Convention ensures that the nominee's showcase event will be about something more than the nominee himself: A number approaching half of the delegates in the hall could cast a ballot for a candidate who is not Obama.

(And, before we continue: Did Obama get what he wanted by having his first joint appearance with Sen. John McCain focus on the topic of religion?)

(Did Republicans get the pictures they were waiting for when Obama finally took his shirt off to go bodysurfing in Hawaii Thursday?)

Three of the four convention nights could very well be dominated by Clinton storylines (arrival, then back-to-back speech nights, and the Wednesday roll call itself), with so much of the fun stuff -- not to mention the party's lingering divisions -- playing out in the open.

Savvy and gracious gesture that soothes tensions and unites the party while giving Clinton's supporters something productive to cheer about? Or unnecessary and dangerous capitulation that only underscores questions about whether Obama is ready to lead? (If he can't control his own convention . . . )

*As in so much in this race, might this be for two people named Clinton to determine?)

"With Mrs. Clinton scheduled to deliver a prime-time speech in Denver, a state-by-state roll call vote increases her time in the convention spotlight," Jeff Zeleny writes in The New York Times. "The former rivals never spoke directly about the matter, but advisers said Mr. Obama encouraged Mrs. Clinton to agree to place her name into nomination as a nod to the historic nature of her candidacy."

Or maybe it wasn't all Obama's call: "Democratic sources said Clinton, who has been grappling with the best way to get her supporters on board, has been mindful of being seen as a poor loser like Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in 1980," ABC's Kate Snow, Jake Tapper, and Jennifer Parker report. "Finally this week, Clinton officials said they wanted Clinton's name to be in nomination. Obama personally had let his staff know that was fine with him, Democratic sources said."

What will the show look like (and how will it be described to viewers back home)?

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