Sen. Hillary Clinton Seeks Democratic Convention Voice
Dems push "unity"; Clinton not dismissing putting name up for convention vote.
Aug. 7, 2008 — -- In an online chat today on her Web site, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton assured supporters that she and Sen. Barack Obama are committed to making the party "fully unified heading into the November election."
Obama clinched the Democratic presidential nomination after a bruising primary battle with Clinton. Both Democrats have since sought to publicly ease tensions between the campaigns.
As Democrats near the Aug. 25 start date of their party convention, Clinton acknowledged in her chat that "excitement and curiosity is certainly starting to build" but that "no decisions have been made yet."
Clinton said, "I will make sure that we keep you up to date and involved with all of the convention activity."
Flying from Minneapolis to Chicago, Obama described working with Clinton's staff as "seamless".
Asked whether or not entering Clinton's name into nomination would heal party rifts, Obama said, "I don't think we're looking for catharsis. I think what we're looking for is energy and excitement about the prospects of changing this country."
Obama provided no further detail on Clinton's convention activities, stating only that "it is getting worked out by our staffs" and stressing their shared enthusiasm "for a unified party".
Asked whether or not her name would be placed into nomination at the convention, Clinton did not rule out the possibility and said, "Senator Obama and I share the goal of ensuring that the voices of everyone who participated in this historic process are respected."
Clinton's Thursday Web chat follows remarks she made to a gathering of supporters last week during which the New York senator said she's looking for a "strategy" for her delegates to have their voices heard and "respected" at the Democratic National Convention.
"I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views were respected. I think that is a very big part of how we actually come out unified," Clinton said at a California fundraiser last Thursday, in a video clip captured by an attendee and posted on YouTube.
"Because I know from just what I'm hearing, that there's incredible pent-up desire. And I think that people want to feel like, 'OK, it's a catharsis, we're here, we did it, and then everybody get behind Sen. Obama.' That is what most people believe is the best way to go," she said.
"No decisions have been made. And so we are trying to work all this through with the DNC and with the Obama campaign."
Clinton's comments shed some light on a fierce behind-the-scenes squabble between the Clinton and Obama camps over how to recognize Clinton and her achievements in the primaries without overshadowing or detracting from a convention that belongs to Obama.
The New York Daily News reported Friday that Clinton has decided not to submit a signed request to the DNC to have her name put into nomination; party rules require such a move for a candidate to be voted on.
But Clinton aides continue to say publicly that such details are still being discussed in consultations among the Clinton camp, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
"No decisions have been made," Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said.
"Sen. Clinton is 100 percent committed to helping Barack Obama become the next president of the United States," Strand added. "She is very appreciative of the continued commitment of her supporters and understands there are passionate feelings around the convention. While no decisions have been made at this time, they will be made collaboratively with Sen. Clinton and her staff, the DNC and Sen. Obama's campaign and released at the appropriate time."
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