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For Mr. Clinton, it is a chance to repair his relations with Obama Democrats who thought he unfairly criticized and insulted their candidate during the primaries.

“Bill Clinton got beat up - he felt, unfairly. This is an opportunity for him to heal the wounds on both sides - on the Obama side to help unify the party behind him, and on the Clinton side to repair some of the damage done to him in the primaries,” said Democratic campaign media adviser Bud Jackson.

For Mrs. Clinton, it will be a time to use her leadership in the party “to give a unifying speech and rouse the base of the party around Obama and being a positive rallying force,” Mr. Jackson said.

But Democrats said it also will be an opportunity for Mrs. Clinton to elevate her own stature in the party and position herself to run for president again if Mr. Obama should lose in November.

“If Barack Obama were to fall short, clearly the leadership of the Democratic Party would be up for grabs, and Hillary Clinton, by virtue of her performance in 2008, could easily lay claim to that,” Mr. Grossman said.

“God forbid Barack Obama is not elected, but if that happens, she would certainly be a pre-eminent force in the Democratic Party, more so than her husband,” he said.

“I would not be surprised at all to see her running for president if John McCain is elected. She does not want to come out of this convention as someone who divided the convention and hurt Obama’s chances that would contribute to McCain winning the presidency,” Mr. Jackson said.

“Then, should Obama lose, she could not be blamed, and she would position herself well to be the nominee in the next election. I’m sure [the Clintons] are thinking of all the possibilities,” he said.