Is Clinton-Obama Unity Just a Town in N.H.?
Former rivals make a show of coming together, but is it more than that?
June 25, 2008— -- After a bitter primary battle, Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., will campaign together Friday in Unity, N.H. But how much unity is there, really?
In front of the cameras today, both put on a tremendous display of mutual admiration.
"I want her campaigning as much as she can," Obama said of Clinton at a press availability this evening in Chicago. "She was a terrific campaigner. She, I think, inspired millions of people."
Obama predicted the two of them "will have a terrific time together in New Hampshire."
"I am 100 percent committed to doing everything I can to make sure that Sen. Obama is sworn in as the next president of the United States next January," Clinton said this morning after a private 35-minute meeting with House Democrats, after which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi relayed that she'd told her fellow Democrats that "Sen. Clinton has emerged from this election the most respected political figure in America, for now and for a long time."
"She got half a dozen standing ovations, and you know we're not easily moved by politicians," Clinton supporter Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., told ABC News.
But behind all the smiles, tension remains.
One dispute centers around the extent to which Obama will help Clinton retire her more than $10 million in campaign debt. On Tuesday, Obama asked his top fundraisers to open their wallets for her.
"What I said was, to my large donors, who are in a position to write large checks, to help Sen. Clinton retire her debt, or at least a portion of it," Obama said today. "And I think there are going to be those who are willing to do so."
Former Clinton campaign adviser Lisa Caputo praised Obama for the move. "I think it was a necessary step, and I think it has sent a clear message to Clinton supporters that people -- both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama -- are on the same page," she said.
But to the assured consternation of other former Clinton campaign officials, Obama said he would not solicit help for Clinton from his grassroots army of 1.5 million donors, many of whom make small contributions and contribute through the Internet.