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Hillary Clinton Nominates Obama on New York’s Behalf

August 27, 2008 at 6:00 PM EDT
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With backers of Hillary Clinton still voicing their support for her presidential bid on the convention floor, the New York senator appeared during the roll call to move that Barack Obama become the Democratic nominee by acclamation. Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks weigh in after Clinton's roll call speech.
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JIM LEHRER: Now Hillary Clinton will come to the floor.

You can barely see her in the crowd.

SPEAKER: Thank you, Illinois. Thank you, Mayor Daley.

JIM LEHRER: We can barely see her there. There’s Governor Paterson in front of her, and there’s Sen. Clinton and Sen. Schumer behind her.

SPEAKER: Thank you, Illinois. Thank you, Mayor Daley.

New York — New York, you have 282 votes. How do you cast them?

NEW YORK STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Madam Chairman, on behalf of the Empire State, the great state of New York, led by its great new governor, Gov. David Paterson…

… the home of the senior senator, Sen. Charles Schumer…

… the home of the Ways and Means chair of the House, Congressman Charlie Rangel…

… and a great congressional delegation, the home of our great state Democratic chair, June O’Neill…

… our great attorney general, Andrew Cuomo…

… Controller Tom DiNapoli…

… I am proud to call upon the great senator from New York to make the following presentation.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton!

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), New York: Madam Secretary, on behalf of the great state of New York, with appreciation for the spirit and dedication of all who are gathered here, with eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here, right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate, and he will be our president!

Madam Secretary, Madam Secretary, I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote, all votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and that I move Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention, by acclamation, as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States!

Hillary Clinton nominates Obama

JIM LEHRER: Well, she did it, Mark. She did it, David. A lot of people thought it would never happen.

MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: It was very classy.

JIM LEHRER: A lot of tears you can see in the eyes of most of the delegates, some of them tears of joy, some of them tears of something else, probably, but tears of emotion.

MARK SHIELDS: It's Barack Obama's day, but it's been Hillary Clinton's night and day. She's really performed admirably. It's got to be tough.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), Speaker of the House: Thank you, Sen. Clinton. Senator Clinton has moved, in the spirit of unity, to suspend the rules of the convention and to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.

Is there a second?

AUDIENCE: Aye!

REP. NANCY PELOSI: All in favor of the motion to suspend the rules and nominate by acclamation Barack Obama as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate, please say, "Aye."

AUDIENCE: Aye!

REP. NANCY PELOSI: All those opposed, please say, "No." Two-thirds of the delegates having voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted.

Obama's 'meteoric rise'

DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times: Recount?

MARK SHIELDS: We have yays and nays.

JIM LEHRER: Well, we are watching and we have just watched and heard history being made on so many levels, Mark.

MARK SHIELDS: Absolutely, Jim. I mean, it's really remarkable. I mean, most of these candidates are powerful symbols of constituencies who never come close to a presidential nomination before. And then to watch Hillary Clinton stand up there -- it had to be personally painful, but it was -- you know, it was political leadership of the highest order.

JIM LEHRER: And think about, four years ago, what Barack Obama was doing at this convention.

DAVID BROOKS: He gave one speech. I think eight years ago, he was sort of floating around the edge of the convention, couldn't get in. I spoke to somebody who said, you know, four years ago and a couple of days, if he had called us, we wouldn't have returned the guy's calls.

It's been a meteoric rise. And, you know, one is also struck by the power of the institution, the power of the party, all these Democrats gathered together, loyal to the party, in some ways, above all -- not as much party loyalty as maybe the old days, but, still, fierce loyalty to a party, the power of that institution.

Clinton's strong campaign

JIM LEHRER: And this 19-month run of Barack Obama, I mean, what he ran was a campaign that began with Hillary Clinton the overwhelming favorite in every poll and by every measurement, by the pundits and everybody said she was going to -- yes, there were some negatives in the polling, but everybody thought -- and we talked about it here on our program, the two of you, the three of us talked about what a great campaign she was running, she had it, and then boom.

MARK SHIELDS: She was -- she was the consensus, formidable candidate -- no question about it, Jim -- taking on the most powerful machine. The only Democrat to win two terms in the White House, left the White House with 65 percent approval, her husband did. She had won two stunning campaigns in New York in her own right and become in the Senate a major player.

You know, there was an awful lot going for her, money, machinery, and personnel.

JIM LEHRER: Yes.

All right. Judy Woodruff is there among it all.

Judy?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Jim, nobody knows what's going to happen on November 4th and whether the Democrats are going to be united between now and then, but I think it's safe to say on this evening, in Denver, Colo., the Democratic Party, the Democratic delegates have come together to support the nomination of Barack Obama.

We haven't heard the last of the Clintons, though, Jim. Tonight, Bill Clinton will make a speech, followed by the vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden. So there's still work to be done, even though the official business for the night is over.

Ending the Clinton, Obama division

JIM LEHRER: Judy, a question. Is there any back-story reporting that can -- can help us understand what kind of deal was made that brought to -- that culminated in this moment we just witnessed?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Jim, what I've been able to learn is part of this was due to, I think, miscommunication between the two campaigns. There was a -- there are lingering resentments, a resentment in the Obama camp toward what they see as a delay in a full-throated support from Sen. Clinton.

There's resentment on the part of the Clinton people, because they felt that Barack Obama and his team should have been more respectful of senator -- so all of those emotions, all of that back story played out right until the last minute.

You heard the delegate a few minutes ago say Sen. Clinton said, when she met with her supporters today, that she was releasing them. But she understood that many of them would still vote, in so many words, for her.

She's keeping her options open. If Barack Obama doesn't win this election, she's very much planning to be -- the sense is -- that she's already planning to be a candidate in 2012 and beyond. So the story -- the story goes on.

JIM LEHRER: Absolutely. Thank you, Judy.

And, of course, as Judy just said, David, we have yet to hear from another Clinton tonight.

DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times: Right.

JIM LEHRER: It will be interesting to see what he says.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, everybody says -- well, people have been saying that he has advisers to write speeches, but he told them to go away a couple of days ago. He's writing his own.

But, you know, I sense just this moment -- this has not been a happy convention. It's been happy, but a little anxious because of the division. It's not been like the conventions in the past when they were dancing the Macarena.

This moment -- this was the first moment of sort of joy that I think I've seen on the floor. And maybe that'll be a pivot moment for the emotional atmosphere of the convention.

JIM LEHRER: Just for a few seconds, do you agree this could be a pivot moment, this could change everything in this convention?

MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: I think Bill Clinton will hit it out of the park. I mean, he has risen to the occasion on very difficult circumstances in the past. He's always delivered that major speech. I look for him to be very special this evening.

JIM LEHRER: OK, we'll see.