House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will kick off the Democratic National Convention by making one thing clear: The Democratic Party is united behind Sen. Barack Obama.
During an interview Sunday with "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran, the DNC chair said she expected the party to leave the convention "unified, organized, focused and disciplined."
When asked whether she expected a large demonstration by Sen. Hillary Clinton's delegates Tuesday, Pelosi said, "I'm all for it."
"This is not unusual in a campaign," she said. "It's healthy. It's important that people who have worked really hard during a campaign are able to express themselves at the convention on behalf of the candidate they worked for. They have to respect the results. If they don't want to participate, they don't, but we hope they will because we need to make the change we need to make for our country. And I think they know what is at stake. Losing is hard and people need to recognize the outcome and decide what the choices are."
Pelosi had tough words today for reporters who referred to previous conflicts between Obama and Clinton.
"We are going into the future. What did I walk into, a time capsule?" she asked.
Pelosi, who is building her own legacy as the first female House speaker, waved aside the notion that some women consider Obama's win as yet another example of a younger, less qualified man passing over a more qualified woman.
"This wasn't an appointment, this was an election," she told Moran. "You have to give credit to the Obama campaign. They out-organized everyone. A year ago, we all thought Sen. Clinton would be the candidate for president and therefore the president. We all thought that if there was some other candidate who would emerge, it would not be someone that hardly anyone had ever heard of, Barack Obama. "
A recent poll, however, showed 30 percent of Clinton supporters are not ready to back Obama.
"I think those polls also show among women Sen. Obama is 20 points ahead -- that's a big gender gap," Pelosi said. "Some of the people on the fence on this issue are Catholics and I think Joe Biden will help take the message to the Catholic community, I know that he will be able to do that. Some are older, in that undecided group, and we'll have to show that the difference between Democrats and Republicans on issues that relate to older Americans."
"Democrats are coming together. Democrats know what is at stake in this election, Democrats want to take the country in a new direction, and we are organized and unified to do just that," she said.
Pelosi cautioned against victimizing Clinton, who fought a tough battle, indicating that the message women can glean from Clinton's loss is the importance of moving forward, and refusing to wallow in defeat.
"I think that women, we have to get away from the politics of victim. This is about you go out there and you fight," she said. "I think that what Hillary Clinton did was tremendous for the country. She has kicked open many doors, which now we have to bring many more women through, millions more women through. My being speaker of the House was breaking the marble ceiling in Congress, which is hard. Sen. Clinton [had] a bigger challenge to run for president of the United States. What we have to do now is say, we have to translate that not just for individuals, but for all women."