Hillary Clinton's speech recap

Behind the News with Bill Ritter
August 27, 2008 12:17:02 PM PDT
I suspect Hillary Clinton would rather have chewed glass than have to give the speech she gave last night. It was the speech she didn't want to deliver. But it was a speech she had to deliver. There's no question she electrified the crowd; the only question is whether it will be enough to make a difference.

She was inarguably passionate.

But was she passionate enough to convince all her supporters to drift over to Barack Obama? Passionate enough to prevent the 5 million or so people who voted for her but who say they'll vote for John McCain, to NOT vote for McCain?

Those people could make all the difference in this close election.

There are those who thought she should have embraced Obama personally a bit more. Certainly the McCain camp did. They wasted not a nanosecond after the speech, putting out a statement that said Sen. Clinton didn't "take back" her lack-of-experience blasts at Obama from the primaries.

Democrats counter that Clinton was as genuine as she could be, without sounding phony and dismissing her previous criticisms.

Tough situation.

And tonight - what a fascinating turn of reality. Talk about politics making strange bedfellows. Two of Obama's fiercest critics during the primaries -especially on the subject of his lack of experience in national security and foreign policy ? have been given the task (and Dems hope it's not a burden as well) of making the case for Obama on "Security America's Future."

Bill Clinton and Joe Biden, who belittled Obama for months, are now charged with trying to convince Americans that the Senator from Illinois is the best qualified to lead.

Each is a fiery speaker, and Bill Clinton, despite his pratfalls and stumbles during his wife's campaign, remains a beloved figure to this Party (although he's likely dropped a few notches on the beloved-scale this year).

We are watching the roll call vote tonight - and the story is how long Democrats will let it go? There is much talk about the delegates from Illinois and New York casting their votes - and then moving to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation.

The speculation is that Hillary Clinton herself might take the podium to move for the unanimous acclamation.

I'm old enough to remember the great old roll calls when the networks covered these conventions gavel-to-gavel. "Mr. Chairman, the great state of blah-de-de-blah-blah casts its so-many votes for so-and-so."

We haven't seen that in the last several conventions. I miss it.

Quote of the day..

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell: The only thing green in John McCain's energy plan is the billions of dollars he's promising in tax cuts for oil companies."

Two New Yorkers, in addition to Sen. Clinton, took the stage last night.

New York Gov. David Paterson, legally blind, memorized his speech. And used his trademark wit - he delighted the crowd.

And Cong. Charles Rangel made it onto the platform. The night before, on Eyewitness News at 5, he told that he didn't feel snubbed by not being asked to speak. But he told me he did want to speak. Somehow, he was invited. Maybe somebody was watching?

Thanks to all of you who have written in your thoughts. I may not have a column on Thursday. It turns out that the transfer of this convention to Invesco Field - about a mile away - means we will have limited access to computers and the Internet. In fact, we'll have limited access to just about everything.

Barack Obama wanted to take his acceptance speech to the public in a grand venue - and we're told his plans for the stage are just about over-the-top, in terms of rock star stuff.

Regardless, it should be quite a day. And we're told there are some surprise guests who will appear on stage.

I hope you can join us, tonight at 5, 6 and 11.

BILL RITTER

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On the Net:

Barack Obama: http://www.barackobama.com
Democratic National Convention http://www.demconvention.com/
Convention videos from the DNCC http://www.demconvention.com/dncc-video/


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