Exclusive: Former Democratic Rivals Join Forces in Sunshine State

Exclusive: Obama tells "Nightline" former rival is "a great messenger for us."

ByABC News
October 20, 2008, 8:37 PM

Oct. 20, 2008— -- It was a moment many thought would never happen -- and certainly not in Florida: Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton sharing a stage in Orlando as 50,000 enthusiastically united Democrats cheered them on. After the rally, Obama and Clinton spoke exclusively with "Nightline" in their first interview together.

With two weeks remaining before Election Day, Obama told "Nightline" that he's "doing a little better" in Florida thanks to some help from his former rival.

"Hillary, I think, is as effective a spokeperson for the Democratic ideal, which is, that is, that everyone gets a fair shot. That's what she's been fighting for," Obama said. "There are some passionate supporters of hers that may still be trying to figure out who to vote for. She's got some great crossover appeal."

"She's been consistent in campaigning down here in Florida for us," Obama said. "I think it's why we're doing a little better here than we were a month ago."

The appearance occured on the first day of early voting in Florida, an important swing state with 27 electoral votes.

In reference to Gov. Sarah Palin's recent remarks in Greensboro, N.C., praising the small town for being one of the "very pro-America areas of this great nation," Obama said that "I haven't been to a spot yet that hasn't been pro-America. People have differences politically. But everybody's a patriot. That's one of the things that I hope we get back to in our politics if I'm elected president."

The last time Clinton and Obama appeared on stage together campaigning, in New Hampshire in June, the hard fought primary had just come to a close. Both Clinton and Obama said some of those wounds had healed.

"We've had a great campaign," Clinton said.

"She's been doing great," Obama continued, "And I was just talking to her, I can't thank her enough. In places like Florida, where she's got so much popularity, she can be a more effective messenger for us than just about anybody."

"We're going to win," Clinton said. "We are going to win. This campaign has so much momentum for all the right reasons. Not only are people concluding in their own self-interests that they need Barack as our president, but external circumstances in the economy have focused attention on what's been going on for the last eight years."

Clinton said Obama "is offering the kind of change that is needed. It's not just a campaign slogan. It is absolutely at the root of everything he stands for. The more I campaign across the country, I am seeing people really make up their minds that they are really voting for themselves by voting for Obama."