The Note: Hillary Clinton Backs Obama in Speech, Now It's Bill's Turn

"For one evening, their political world was perfect. Or so it seemed," the AP's Ron Fournier writes. "By the time she was done, Sen. Clinton had delivered a strong, convincing affirmation of Obama and, just as importantly, a thumping of McCain. She did her part. Her husband takes the stage Wednesday and then Obama must make his case to the American people that he will be ready on Day One."

"I think she aced it," ABC's George Stephanopoulos said on "Good Morning America" Wednesday. As for Bill: "He's got to do what Hillary Clinton didn't do. He's got to try and validate Barack Obama as commander-in-chief."

A dream lede, from the Los Angeles Times' Mark Z. Barabak: "Hillary Rodham Clinton, accepting defeat with grace and generosity, moved to close the divide among fellow Democrats on Tuesday night by offering a forceful and unequivocal endorsement of her fierce rival."

And perception becomes reality here: "It came as the message emanating from the Denver convention hall abruptly pivoted from biography to an emphasis on the differences between Obama and McCain," Barabak adds. "One speaker after another took turns on Tuesday pummeling the Arizona senator -- and President Bush -- using economic issues as their club."

It was an "emphatic plea" from Clinton to unite behind Obama -- but there was more at work even on Tuesday, Patrick Healy reports in The New York Times. Clinton "also took steps on Tuesday -- deliberate steps, aides said -- to keep the door open to a future bid for the presidency," he writes.

"Mrs. Clinton wanted to ensure that her star turn at the convention could never be portrayed as insufficiently enthusiastic, should Mr. Obama lose the election in part because swaths of her supporters ultimately did not vote for him," Healy continues. "Mrs. Clinton is almost certain to run for president in 2012 if Mr. Obama fails this time, several Clinton advisers said Tuesday."

"In an address closely scrutinized for perceived slights against Obama, Clinton threw herself fully behind the man she battled and often criticized during a long and at times bitter primary campaign," The Boston Globe's Susan Milligan writes.

"This was a Clinton speech that didn't require any parsing of words," adds the Globe's Peter Canellos.

Michael Saul and David Saltonstall, in the New York Daily News: "Moving forcefully but gracefully to tamp down the enduring bitterness over her tough primary battle with Barack Obama, Clinton unequivocally beseeched her Democratic supporters to follow her lead and vote for the Illinois senator in November."

Salon's Joan Walsh: "While reporters run around Denver chasing the Clinton-loving PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass) -- and believe me, they're here -- Clinton sent an unambiguous message: Party Unity My Ass, my ass."

Could Camp Clinton have designed it better than to let the senator provide the excitement? "Her speech gave the convention an emotional lift after a desultory second day of speeches by a parade of Democratic politicians," McClatchy's David Lightman and Margaret Talev write.

"She offered the electrifying fight that the limpid Obama has not -- setting off paranoia among some Democrats that they had chosen the wrong nominee or that Obama had chosen the wrong running mate," Maureen Dowd writes in her New York Times column. "As in Obama's favorite movie, 'The Godfather,' every time Democrats try to get away, the Clintons pull them back in."

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