Delayed But Gracious Clinton Exit Leaves Fractured Party

Such claims -- including the suggestion that her supporters weren't being heard because their chosen candidate wasn't going to win -- could have a lasting impact on the party, threatening to delegitimize Obama as the Democrats' standard-bearer at the very moment he needs Democrats to unite.

Clinton started making up for that Saturday -- but her work, like Obama's has only just begun.

Among the lingering questions in this campaign is how Clinton's run will be ultimately remembered. With the Democratic Party only starting to heal itself, that answer may be more closely related to Obama's finish than her own.

But as she basked in the history of the moment, enjoying for one final time the cheers of a crowd's political passion, she offered a nod to the larger legacy of her campaign.

"We will some day launch a woman into the White House," Clinton said. "Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it."

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