Hillary Ghost Hangs Over Obama Unity Event

Jun 10, 2008 6:31pm

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley and Greg Wallace Report: The sensitive task of bringing Hillary Clinton’s supporters into the Barack Obama movement was ever-present during a Democratic show of unity with party’s leaders Tuesday in Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made news announcing their willingness to push for a second stimulus package – as Obama has called for. But the day was Hillary’s.

Party chairman Howard Dean barely completed one line praising the presumptive Democratic nominee, Obama, before showing sympathy to Clinton’s complaint that she was treated unfairly during the nomination process.

"We congratulate Senator Obama, and we are working at the DNC already to make sure that he is the next President of the United States. I also want to say how extraordinary grateful we are to Senator Hillary Clinton for her leadership and her extraordinary commitment to America and the Democratic Party," said Dr. Dean.

"On the blogosphere and the airways, emotions have run high, heated discussions have lead at times to sexist comments – particularly by some members of the media. There have been racist remarks as well. And we know that those comments have no place in our society and certainly no place in our party."

Pelosi, the closest woman in line to be president ever, was equally as sensitive, but more upbeat. "Her knowledge, her eloquence, her stamina, her commitment to the future have made us all really really proud that she has proven that America is willing to elect a woman President of the United States."

The Speaker continued with a little bit of praise for Obama, a little attack on the Republicans, and oh, by the way: "We come together on a day that is very important — as I mentioned Sen. Clinton’s important leadership for women — today…….is the 45 Anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act. And we want all of those women who came out for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, especially those who came out for Hillary Clinton, to know that the work goes on," Pelosi added.

In case the press at Democratic Party headquarters didn’t notice Dem. leaders’ tone about Clinton, Washington Senator Patty Murray made clear she’s not worried about women getting on board the Obama train. "We are all on the same team," she said.

The event, with just about ever Democratic leader in Congress, was about projecting an image of a party united behind its soon-to-be nominee. Obama’s Senate leader Reid voted the Illinois legislator an All-Star. "Those of us who serve with him in the Senate know he is truly an All-Star," he said. "If we were talking about baseball – this man can run the bases, he hits for the long ball, he’s really good at picking up singles, he’s somebody who is a really good team player. Barack Obama, the next president of the United States."

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan, predicted Obama would carry her state in November. Not wanting to be left out of the predictions game, Pelosi said, "put California down as a blue state." After that extremely bold prediction, Dean ended the meeting.

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