In perhaps the second most anticipated speech of the Democratic Convention, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took the Pepsi Center stage Tuesday night at 8:44 Mountain Time.
The first line of Clinton's speech—"I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a pround supporter of Barack Obama"—said virtually everything she needed to say.
It also raised a question by omission, however: what about her husband, former President Bill Clinton? Wasn't she proud of him or her association with him?
So in one sense, she could have stopped after clearly announcing her support for Obama. But she also had to close the loop by making some mention of her husband.
It took Clinton 15 minutes, including a laborious listing of the reasons she ran for president, to get to that mention:
"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."
That reference seemed heavy-handed and because it came so late in the speech, it also diverted attention from the central question of how enthusiastically she supports Obama. Her subsequent summary of the history of suffrage was important but also a diversion from the issue at hand.
Clinton ultimately presented a convincing case that she'll back Obama in the general election battle against Sen. John McCain. Her discussion of the presumptive Republican nominee provided two highlights: There were gasps when she referred to McCain as "my friend" but also raucous laughter when she said, "It makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities because these days they are awfully hard to tell apart."
Clinton's speech and her historic candidacy ended at 9:08 Mountain Time.
Clinton's supporters, of course, wish she'd won the nomination. Failing that, many wish Obama had chosen her as his running mate. (They've got a point: Unlike Obama's choice, Delware Sen. Joe Biden, she has never been caught borrowing other people's words; has all of her own hair; and represents an influential state).
Clinton did have one chance, however tenous, to prove her loyalty to Obama.
Back in April, WW's James Pitkin interviewed
Clinton as she campaigned in Oregon.
Here's one of the questions he asked:
WW: "If you had to get a tattoo, what would it be?"
Clinton: "If I was under duress? Gosh, I have been asked millions of questions, and no one has ever asked me that. I have so little interest in having a tattoo, that I just am going to have to ponder this. It can be really, really small, right? I think it would be really, really small, like under a microscope, and it would say 'love.'"
Maybe instead of "love," she should have said "Obama."