Clinton Frees Delegates, Obama Roll Call Next

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

DENVER — Senator Clinton released her remaining convention delegates today as Democrats were poised to formally deliver the party’s presidential nomination to Senator Obama, making him the first black nominee of a major party.

As many in the room yelled, “No,” Clinton said that, while she was releasing the delegates she had won in the primaries, “I am not telling you what to do. You’ve come here from so many different places having made this journey and feeling in your heart what is right for you to do.”

Suspense still remained over the voting process — and whether and when a planned roll-call vote would be cut off to give Mr. Obama the nomination by acclamation.

Mr. Obama planned a mid-afternoon arrival in the convention city after campaigning at Montana.

Meanwhile, President Clinton, who was a prime-time headliner tonight along with Obama running mate Senator Biden, planned to make a forceful endorsement of the man who forced his wife out of the race and to make the case that Mr. Obama is ready to confront any domestic, international, or national security challenge, said an aide.

Mr. Clinton will say in a roughly eight-minute speech that only a Democrat in the White House can “restore America’s standing to what it was eight years ago,” said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to pre-empt the president’s speech.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, presiding officer of the Democratic National Convention, predicted the roll-call voting after the names of both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were put in nomination would go “very smoothly.”

“Are you ready for victory? Then you must be ready for unity. That is the only way we are going to win and have this victory,” she told Iowa’s convention delegates.

Many details remained unknown, however, including how many states would vote before somebody — probably Mrs. Clinton herself — asked the delegates to give the nomination to Obama by acclamation.

Clinton won 18 million votes in primary-season contests but failed to earn her party’s nomination.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who had been a Clinton supporter, suggested in an interview with The Associated Press that some delegates would vote for Mrs. Clinton no matter what she said, and that any motion to move to an unanimous convention ballot would draw “a few no’s.”

Mr. Obama will give his acceptance speech tomorrow to as many as 75,000 people at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium.

Then, on Friday, Mr. Obama, his wife Michelle, and his running mate, Mr. Biden, and his wife Jill will embark on a three-day bus tour of battleground states Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

Representatives of the Clinton and Obama teams struck a deal setting ground rules for the roll call vote that will hand the nomination to Mr. Obama but will also allow Mrs. Clinton’s supporters to express their support for her.

Advisers to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama sent a joint letter to state delegation chairs instructing them to distribute vote tally sheets to delegates today and return them before the vote got under way.

The letter, first obtained last night by The Associated Press, said Mrs. Clinton would have one nominating speech and two seconding speeches, followed by Mr. Obama’s nominating speech and three seconding speeches — totaling no more than 15 minutes for each candidate. Then the roll call would begin, said the letter signed by Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, Jeff Berman, Mrs. Clinton’s senior adviser , Craig Smith, and convention secretary Alice Germond.

An Iowa delegate who had supported Clinton, Kathleen Krehbiel, credited the New York senator’s convention speech last night for finally persuading her to cross the line and vote for Obama.

“My horse is out of the race. I’m getting out to work for Obama,” Ms. Krehbiel said. But, she added, “I think there are a few delegates who need to vote for Hillary to reach that point of closure.”

In a sign of unity, the Obama adviser, Mr. Berman, and Clinton adviser, Mr. Smith, told delegates today that they had been working out of the same office all week to ensure a smooth convention.

“The story is that we are working as a team,” Mr. Berman said.

Anticipating last night’s focus on national security at the convention, Senator McCain contended in a new TV ad that Mr. Obama showed he was “dangerously unprepared” for the White House when he described Iran as a “tiny” nation that didn’t pose a serious threat.

“Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism. Developing nuclear capabilities to ‘generate power’ but threatening to eliminate Israel,” says the ad, which was being run in key states. “Terrorism, destroying Israel — those aren’t ‘serious threats”‘?

Missing from the ad was the context of Mr. Obama’s remarks last May in which he compared Iran and other adversarial governments to the superpower Soviet Union. “They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” he said in arguing for talks with Iran. “You know, Iran, they spend one-100th of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance.”

The New York Sun

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