For One More Night, It's Hillary Clinton's Party

Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner address delegates on the second night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DENVER, Aug. 26 At noon on Tuesday, two young men walked onto the podium at the Democratic National Convention carrying four women's suit jackets -- red, orange, light blue and teal -- and holding each one up to the lights to see which would look best in the hall.

It was Hillary Clinton's night, and nothing was being left to chance.

Would she go with the orange or red, colors that attract attention? Or the blue or green, which have calming properties?

Nine hours later, Clinton emerged on the podium -- in vibrant orange.

The thousands of delegates and spectators in the hall -- even the Obama supporters -- raised white Hillary signs. The loudspeakers played her old campaign theme, "Yes, she can change the world." And Clinton earned adoring cheers, cries of "we love you" and more than a few tears as she recalled her campaign and her "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits." A video preceding her speech identified Bill Clinton only as "Hillary's Husband."

The nomination may belong to Barack Obama, but Hillary Clinton owned the convention hall Tuesday night.

She used the spotlight to play the loyal Democratic soldier. She got right to the point: "Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose." And she stuck with that theme through her speech. "Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president," she said. With glee, she turned to a full-throated attack on Republican John McCain, tying him to the unpopular president. "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."

The delegates raised signs announcing "Unity."

That may be a wee bit premature. While the woman in orange spoke in soothing hues of blue and green Tuesday night, many of her supporters continue to see red.

Clinton loyalist James Carville exploded on CNN Monday night at the Obama-run convention: "If this party has a message, it's done a hell of a job hiding it tonight."

Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's former campaign chairman, let it be known that he will be skipping town before Obama delivers his acceptance speech on Thursday.

Clinton herself, though voicing the right words about her support for the ticket, struck a note of regret in the afternoon as she spoke to Emily's List, a group that seeks to elect women who support abortion rights. "For those who supported the women who have run, the women who are holding office, please remember, it's not just about politics," she cautioned. "It's really personal. Because when you start running, you have no idea where the path will lead."

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