Clinton backers secure nomination roll-call vote

Hillary Rodham Clinton's supporters will get to place her name in nomination at the Democratic National Convention later this month, forcing a roll call vote that would demonstrate the extent of support for the New York senator.

The campaigns of Clinton and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, announced the agreement in a joint statement Thursday.

"I am convinced that honoring Senator 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 the statement.

Clinton said: "With every voice heard and the (Democratic) Party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama President of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again."

Clinton picked up about 18 million votes and nearly 1,900 delegates in her primary battle against Obama. He got more than 2,250 delegates — more than necessary to clinch. She conceded to the Illinois senator June 7 and threw her support behind him, but hadn't ruled out lending her name to a nominating effort.

Details and mechanics of how the nomination will be made are being worked out, the Associated Press reported.

Aides to Obama had prepared for the possibility Clinton would be nominated. "There's no perfect solution for anybody," Steve Hildebrand, Obama's deputy campaign manager, told USA TODAY this week. But he expressed confidence Democrats will pull together no matter what the outcome. "I think we will end up being just fine, roll call or no roll call."

At a California fundraiser last month, Clinton suggested that a roll call would be "a catharsis" for her supporters. "I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel their voices were heard and their views were respected," she told a group of Democrats in Los Altos Hills.

"I think it would be excellent," said Lorraine Hariton, who hosted the gathering.

Others are opposed. "I think it would be very divisive," said Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, who also attended the fundraiser. Stone, who said he backed Clinton in the primaries, argued that a convention tally of her support would only help the cause of the presumptive Republican nominee. "John McCain would love it," he said.

At issue is whether a floor vote on the nomination would help heal or further open wounds left by a bruising primary campaign between two history-making candidates. Obama is the first African American to win a major party nomination for the presidency; Clinton is the first woman to have vied seriously for the same post.

To recognize Clinton's accomplishment, convention organizers have given her a prime-time slot to address the convention in Denver on Aug. 26 — 88 years after the 19th Amendment took effect and gave women the right to vote.

Some of Clinton's supporters are circulating a petition to put her name in nomination. Democratic Party rules require the signatures of 300 delegates, with no more than 50 coming from a single state. The rules also require that the candidate sign the petition.

"She's in a dicey position," Hildebrand said earlier this week of Clinton. "She's got a lot of people who worked incredibly hard for her, who dedicated their lives to her mission, her candidacy and who are very passionate about this."

Contributing: Associated Press