Accessibility links

Obama, Clinton Appear Together at 'Unity' Rally in New Hampshire


Former presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made their first joint campaign appearance Friday in the aptly named town of Unity, New Hampshire. It was the first time the once bitter rivals campaigned together since Obama clinched the Democratic Party's presidential nomination earlier this month. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

For 16 months they were rivals. But in the small New Hampshire town of Unity Friday, Senators Obama and Clinton sought to put their primary battles in the past and heal the Democratic Party in time to face Republican John McCain in November.

"Well, Unity is not only a beautiful place, as we can see, it is a wonderful feeling, isn't it," asked Senator Clinton.

Clinton suspended her campaign earlier this month after it was clear Obama had clinched enough Democratic delegates to claim the party's presidential nomination.

Clinton left little doubt Friday that she will fully support Obama's run for the White House against the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain.

"We may have started on separate paths, but today, our paths have merged," she added. "Today our hearts are set on the same destination for America. Today we are coming together for the same goal, to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States."

Clinton and Obama flew together from Washington to New Hampshire and appeared friendly toward one another during the campaign rally. The image of the two former rivals now joining forces could encourage some Clinton supporters to call on Obama to choose Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate.

For now, Obama is saying little about a vice presidential running mate. Obama did tell the rally at Unity that he expects Hillary and Bill Clinton to play a role in his campaign.

"We need them badly, not just my campaign, but the American people need their service and their vision and their wisdom in the months and years to come because that is how we are going to bring about unity in the Democratic Party and that is how we are going to bring about unity in America, and that is how we are going to deliver the American dream in every corner of every state of this great nation that we love," he said.

Besides the obvious implication of its name, Unity was chosen because each candidate got exactly 107 votes in January's New Hampshire presidential primary, which Clinton won.

Republican John McCain meanwhile campaigned in Ohio Friday, and told reporters he still hopes to win over some Clinton supporters who may be reluctant to back Obama.

"I do think we are able to attract some of Senator Clinton's supporters, not so much because of any reason that they think that I may serve America best," he said. "I had a woman at a town hall meeting yesterday who was wearing a Hillary hat. I was pleased that she was there and I was pleased to respond to her comments."

At the rally in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton urged her supporters to resist the McCain campaign and line up behind Senator Obama.

But that may not be enough for some Clinton supporters like university professor Jill Brantley. Brantley was among a handful of protesters in Washington this week urging Clinton not to abandon her campaign for the Democratic nomination.

"We are being asked to fall in line in terms of issues while the process is absolutely corrupt," she said. "And I am frightened, knowing how he got the nomination, what he would do if he had real power. I really am."

Clinton and Obama also discussed fundraising this week. Clinton needs help paying off a ten million dollar campaign debt, and Obama wants to tap some of her top fundraisers for his campaign against John McCain.

XS
SM
MD
LG