- The Washington Times - Monday, August 25, 2008

DENVER | Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, hoping to unite the Democratic Party and cement her future in it, will gather her hard-won primary delegates Wednesday at a reception where she is expected to formally release them to Sen. Barack Obama.

Mrs. Clinton has invited her pledged delegates to a reception at the Colorado Convention Center, not far from the main Democratic National Convention arena.

The high-profile gathering of political regulars who once fought against Mr. Obama serves a dual purpose for Mrs. Clinton: Show fellow Democrats that she can be a team player, and display her still-formidable political strengths for the future. Many of her supporters want her to run for president again.

A Democratic official told the Associated Press on Sunday, a day before the convention begins, that she is expected to release her delegates at the Wednesday event. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss details publicly.

Asked about Mrs. Clinton’s plans for the event, her spokesman Philippe Reines said it will be “an opportunity for Senator Clinton to see her delegates - many for the first time since the primaries ended, thank them for their hard work and support, and most importantly to encourage them to support and work for Senator Obama as strongly as she has in order to elect him in November.”

The New York senator has support among key voting groups that the Illinois senator has yet to win over, particularly women, older voters and working-class voters.

Coming into the convention, many Democrats have wondered exactly how and when Mrs. Clinton would throw her delegates to Mr. Obama, and whether that would be a messy, contentious affair.

Some Clinton delegates still plan to vote for her at the convention, even if she releases them.

“This is much bigger than Hillary,” said Pam Durham, a Clinton delegate from Fort Worth, Texas. “I have a responsibility. I do not own my vote. I have to represent the voters who sent me.”

Pat Bakalian, a Clinton delegate from Santa Cruz, Calif., agreed. She said she came to Denver to vote for Mrs. Clinton, “and it’s what I’m going to do.”

Both women said Mr. Obama has not yet won their support. They are waiting to see how Mrs. Clinton is treated at the convention, and to make sure the nominating process is run fairly.

Daniel Kagan, a Clinton delegate from Colorado, said, “I was sent to Denver to vote for Clinton. I would be letting my voters down if I voted for anyone else.”

Mr. Kagan said he plans to vote for Mr. Obama in November, but he won’t be volunteering for the campaign.

“I’ll get behind [the ticket] weakly,” Mr. Kagan said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide