Dems' Deal: Hillary Gets Convention Vote

Hillary Rodham Clinton's name placed in nomination at Democratic convention.

ByABC News
August 14, 2008, 10:50 AM

Aug. 14, 2008 — -- A deal has been brokered between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that will allow Clinton's name to be placed in nomination at next week's Democratic nominating convention.

The former rivals announced the agreement today in a joint statement, shedding light on a hushed negotiation between the Clinton and Obama camps over how to recognize Clinton and her supporters without overshadowing or detracting from a convention designed to nominate Obama as the party's presidential candidate.

Obama and Clinton "are both committed to winning back the White House and to ensuring that the voices of all 35 million people who participated in this historic primary election are respected and heard in Denver," the statement read in part. "To honor and celebrate these voices and votes, both Sen. Obama's and Sen. Clinton's names will be placed in nomination."

Democratic sources said Clinton, who has been grappling with the best way to get her supporters on board, has been mindful of being seen as a poor loser like Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in 1980. The senator was not looked upon favorably when he appeared to refuse to shake former President Carter's hand at the party's convention after losing the nomination vote.

For the Obama campaign, a roll call vote at this point would not show the race as close as it once seemed, because so many Clinton delegates are now poised to cast their ballots for Obama.

"This truly was a joint decision," according to a Clinton source. "This wasn't something she was itching for, looking for. But so many of her supporters said it was important to them. And the Obama people got how important it was to smooth over any tensions and that it was the right thing to do."

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe has been negotiating the deal with former Clinton campaign officials Cheryl Mills and Minyon Moore since June and the default position for Obama was to ask what the Clinton camp wanted to do, Democratic sources told ABC News.

Finally this week, Clinton officials said they wanted Clinton's name to be in nomination. Obama personally had let his staff know that was fine with him, Democratic sources said.

Obama, who is in Hawaii on vacation with his family this week, argued in the statement that having Clinton's name on the roll call would be a symbol of unity.

"I am convinced that honoring Sen. Clinton's historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion," Obama said in a joint statement.

Clinton, who initially refused to concede the race to Obama arguing she won the popular vote of 18 million people during the Democratic primaries, said the agreement would solidify support behind Obama.

"With every voice heard and the Party strongly united, we will elect Sen. Obama President of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again," Clinton said in a joint statement.

It's the first time a losing Democratic presidential candidate has had his or her name formally placed into nomination at the Democratic National Convention since 1992, according to the Democratic National Committee.

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown had his name formally placed into nomination at the convention that nominated the New York senator's husband, former President Clinton.

Clinton's statement resembled remarks she made to a gathering of supporters two weeks ago during which she said she is looking for a "strategy" for her delegates to have their voices heard at the 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, which was captured in a video clip 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.

Clinton's most ardent supporters have been loudly arguing for months that Obama needs to do something to show respect to the 18 million people who voted for Clinton during the Democratic primaries.

The two sides have been jockeying over how to win over Clinton supporters who were bitterly disappointed by her loss and the chance of seeing the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major political party.

It is also apparent that Clinton is not being seriously considered as a running mate for Obama. The deal to allow Clinton to be nominated is meant to help mollify those hurt feelings.

The details are still being worked out, but Clinton's name will be put into nomination at the Denver convention Wednesday. That will be one day after Clinton addresses the convention.

After both Clinton's and Obama's names are placed into nomination, there will be a roll call vote. What hasn't been settled yet is who will nominate Clinton and whether she will stand up with the New York delegation when it is called on.

What has also been hashed out is that at some point during the convention, Clinton will make it very clear that she is voting for Obama and wants her delegates to support him too, the Clinton source said.

As of Wednesday night, there are still no decisions on whether Chelsea Clinton will speak at the convention, although a Clinton source said, "I wouldn't be surprised if she did" introduce her mother.

That would make the convention a true family affair with Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton all having podium time.

Reaction was mixed today from Clinton supporters. Many were pleased, but her most ardent supporters said they'd fight on to see her nominated at the convention.

Susan Castner, a Clinton delegate from Portland, Ore., who was organizing a petition to have Clinton nominated this year, says she's thrilled.

"We are actually ecstatic about it right now," she said, arguing millions of Clinton's supporters, many of them women, would be happy too. "She deserves it. It was hard fought."

Longtime Hillary Clinton friend Lanny Davis applauded the news and said Clinton intends to vote for Obama when her name is called, and will move to nominate Obama by acclamation.

"I think it's a perfect solution," said Davis, who went to Yale Law School with the Clintons and was a special counsel to former President Clinton.

"We are absolutely committed to electing Barack Obama and this is the best way to do it so let people have their moment," Davis said. "Sen. Clinton will assure that nothing will occur that will hinder Sen. Obama 's chances but even more will help him by when it comes time for her vote, by voting for him and by moving at the convention to nominate Sen. Obama by acclamation."

Davis said Clinton will have "no sympathy" for some of her supporters who pledge to continue to try to get her nominated at the convention.