One Clinton down, one to go. (And yes, the party's getting there, even if that other Clinton is heeding his wife's words and going a bit early.)
To the extent that a single speech can suck the drama out of a convention that was stuffed with it -- and a party that's grown sick of it -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did her part Tuesday night.
With two political futures at stake, she gave the party something to be excited about -- and to ensure that if her backers don't come around to Sen. Barack Obama, it won't be her fault. (If she didn't heap on the praise, at least she was genuine.)
The Denver Post goes with capital letters: "THE TEAM PLAYER."
If you looked carefully enough, you saw a message coming together at the Pepsi Center -- a procession of speakers competing for sound-bite-of-the-night (and how about Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont.?) in bashing Sen. John McCain -- then Hillary tying it in a neat bow for the Democratic Party to marvel at.
Now, it's Bill Clinton's chance to make sure it doesn't unravel. (And it falls to Obamaland to reconsider/redesign/spin the setting for Thursday night. A Greek temple? Were they out of Roman thrones?)
As for Wednesday's marquee speech (with apologies to Joe Biden, who has a pretty big night on tap himself):
"Take away the context of this campaign year, and they could be pals, perhaps even big and little brothers of the Democratic family -- the so-called first black president mentors a prospective real black president. But context is everything in politics, and because of that their relationship is anything but close," David Maraniss writes in a Washington Post must-read-and-digest.
"He intends to do what is expected of him, according to many friends and associates, and try to convince the public that Obama has the toughness and wisdom to be commander in chief," Maraniss continues.
"But though the speech might be as important to Clinton as it is to Obama, those close to him say he will deliver it with lingering feelings of estrangement that have surprisingly little to do with the fact that Obama defeated his wife in the primaries. . . . Clinton associates, long familiar with his habits and rhythms, say it would take little more than phone calls on a somewhat regular basis to keep him satisfied."
(Mr. President, we ask again: Is he ready?)
"We're not nervous at all," Obama advisor Anita Dunn said in the campaign's morning convention conference call, per ABC's Sunlen Miller.
Said Bill, surprising party-goers at Invesco Field late Tuesday: "Hillary made the only argument [that] matters tonight. Nothing else matters. This election is not about a politician," he said, per the Chicago Tribune's Josh Drobnyk. "You really don't have any choice."
On Sen. Clinton's night, yet another Indiana victory speech became a rational, sound argument for her supporters to back Obama.
Yes, as ABC's Diane Sawyer noted on "Good Morning America" Wednesday, we didn't hear any adjectives in Clinton's praise.
Yes, it was about her -- "Keep going," she said (and who else could she have been speaking to?) -- but in fairness, to millions of her disappointed supporters (and thousands who converged on Denver in frustration/anger/helplessness) it was going to be about her anyway.