DENVER Hillary Clinton moved Tuesday to heal the final wounds lingering from her long battle with Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nod, and issued a heartfelt plea for her supporters to shift their passion for her to him.
"I am here tonight as a proud mother, as a proud Democrat, as a proud senator from New York, a proud American, and a proud supporter of Barack Obama," she said to a standing ovation.
"Whether you voted for me or you voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can afford to sit on the sidelines. This is a fight for the future, and this is a fight we must win together," she said.
Tuesday was Clinton's night at the convention. She basked in her moment before a sea of delegates knowing that just fewer than half of them had supported her for president. That was not quite enough. Her consolation prize was the convention speech.
She used it to thank supporters, tell them that her message and Obama's are now united and took some shots at their mutual adversary, Republican John McCain all sprinkled with humor.
"To my supporters, my champions my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits from the bottom of my heart: Thank you," she said as she again was wearing her trademark pantsuit. "You never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history."
Seeking party unity, she declared, "Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President."
She said her issues from seeking universal health care to ending the war and expanding civil rights are also his issues.
"Those are the reasons I ran for President. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama," she said.
Meanwhile, she said John McCain views are essentially those of George Bush's. "It makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart."
Clinton added, "When Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before." Former President Bill Clinton cheered from the stands as she said that.
Hillary Clinton concluded, "That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great and no ceiling too high for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other."
Clinton attracted so many people that just before her speech, the fire marshal declared the Pepsi Center as totally full, thus closing it to anyone else hoping to enter, and not allowing those who left into outer hallways to come back into the inner arena.
At the convention, many Clinton delegates had expressed frustration that they may not be able to vote for her. Many even marched through downtown Denver chanting, "Hillary," and calling for a full roll call vote.
A tentative deal between the Obama and Clinton camps calls for some states to cast votes Wednesday before someone maybe Clinton herself cuts short the tally and asks the convention to nominate Obama by unanimous consent.
"I do want to vote for her on a ballot. I worked hard for her," said Lisa Allcott, a Clinton delegate from Utah. She and other Clinton delegates from Utah met earlier in the day Tuesday to discuss what, if anything, they should do to help ensure they have that chance.
In the end, they decided to wait until all Clinton delegates meet with Clinton on Wednesday. "I will take my direction from her," and do whatever she asks, Allcott said.
Another Utah Clinton delegate, Salt Lake County Council member Jenny Wilson, said, "Yes, I have mixed feelings. But the party had two great candidates this year. I'm not bitter at this stage. I am optimistic about Barack Obama. He's an incredible leader, with an incredible message."
Wilson said Clinton's speech "reminds me just how talented she is, and how worthy she is for higher office either president or vice president," but she will enthusiastically support Obama.
Of note, Clinton's speech came on the 88th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote and Clinton came the closest of any woman so far to gain the nomination of a major party. The convention marked the anniversary in several ways.That included allowing the other eight women Democrats who are in the U.S. Senate (besides Clinton) to address the convention. Clinton used a video to introduce that portion of the program. Other women featured Tuesday included Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Kansas Gov. Kathleeen Sebelius.