U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton's hopes to become the first woman elected to the White House were dashed after she failed to win enough delegates to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president. After a hard-fought and often bitter campaign against her ultimately successful rival, Senator Barack Obama, Clinton is pledging to work for party unity.  VOA's Deborah Tate has a profile of one of the most prominent figures in the Democratic Party.

Hillary Clinton has proved to be a tireless and resilient campaigner. Even after it became clear that she would not overtake Senator Barack Obama in the delegate count, she refused to end her campaign.

"For everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up and for everyone who works hard and never gives up this one is for you," she said.

Clinton, the two-term Senator from New York and former First Lady with the most powerful name in the Democratic party, initially was favored to win the primary contest. She began her campaign emphasizing her experience, arguing that she would be the most qualified to be president.

"After seven long years of George W. Bush, we sure are ready for a president who will be a fighter a doer and a champion for the American people again," she said.

But analysts say Clinton misjudged Democratic voters, who wanted change more than experience and voted for Obama.

Ron Walters, a political science professor at the University of Maryland, says her message did not resonate as well as Obama's.

"This is about me," he said. "This is what I will do for you. This is about my experience, and so forth. That was a very different narrative, and the American people did not hear that narrative."

Clinton's vote to authorize military intervention in Iraq also angered the Democratic Party's liberal base.

"I have taken responsibility for my vote, but there are no do-overs in life," she said. "I wish there were."

After a long and sometimes divisive primary campaign, Clinton is pledging to bring the party together.

"I'm committed to uniting our party so we move forward stronger and more ready than ever to take back the White House this November," she said.

Unless Obama picks her as his running mate, Clinton is expected to continue her work in the Senate, where she is a member of the influential Armed Services Committee.

Ron Walters says Clinton will continue to play a prominent role in politics wherever her future takes her.

"Hillary Clinton, by virtue of what she has done, attracting 17 million votes is going to be a leader in American politics, no matter what she does," he said.

And so Clinton ends another chapter in a trail-blazing career, and begins another as she continues to be a force in Democratic politics.