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Week in Review: Obama Clinches Nomination

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Week in Review: Obama Clinches Nomination

Analysis

Week in Review: Obama Clinches Nomination

Week in Review: Obama Clinches Nomination

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The long road to the Democratic presidential nomination came to an end as Sen. Barack Obama gained enough delegates to clinch the nomination, and he shifted his focus towards the race against Republican John McCain in the fall.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York): The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States!

(Soundbite of crowd applause)

Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him!

(Soundbite of crowd applause)

SIMON: The long road to the Democratic presidential nomination has ended just moments ago. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York officially withdrew from the race, and as you heard, endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama. On Tuesday, Senator Obama gained enough delegates to clinch the nomination and has already shifted his focus toward the race against John McCain in the fall. NPR senior news analyst Dan Schorr joins us. Hello, Dan.

DANIEL SCHORR: Hi, Scott.

SIMON: And what did you notice about Senator Clinton's speech today?

SCHORR: Well, I just - Noel Coward would call this "design for leaving." She did a wonderful job there, both coming all out for her teammate now, saying I stand with him, mentioning his name many time, saying many times the things that he wanted and you couldn't have asked for more. But she managed at the same time to make herself an important figure on the stage from now on.

SIMON: People will point out, it was, I believe, seven minutes - and of course, we time these things - seven minutes before she mentioned Senator Obama. Are we making too much of that? ..TEXT: SCHORR: I think so. There are seven minutes of acknowledgments that she has to give. When she started out, she was really - they were very, very warm in praise with her mentioning, time after time, this is the America that we want, and mentioning his name many, many times. I do not think that Obama will have any problem with her departure. But she is not really departing. She is really stepping into some new role yet to be fathomed.

SIMON: You called them teammates. This race was the question of running mates. They talked privately, I guess, on Thurday night. Nobody was in the room except for them. This was at Senator Dianne Feinstein's house. But you know, although there were just two people in the room, that doesn't prevent a lot of gabble mouths from reporting about what they think happened.

(Soundbite of laughter)

And let's not deter the fact the neither of us were there. Let's not let that deter us from speculating. Surely the subject has to come up between them.

SCHORR: Of course. Well, Senator Feinstein said that the only thing we've learned about this is that they came out laughing and that probably was a good sign. Yes, I think that - she clearly said so, she would like to have the Number Two spot on the ticket and it's usually not very good manners to say you want it until it's been offered to you.

But I think he has a lot of things to consider. She represents, she says, almost 18 million persons, women. And the question is how you hold on to the women for Hillary and make them the women for the next Democratic nominee.

SIMON: A lot of men voted for Senator Clinton, too, it must be noted. Let me get you to review some of the arguments, in these couple of minutes that we have left, because there are people, of course, who say, well, but then Bill Clinton obviously comes along with that and he's had a certain history of this campaign, and how can he really be comfortable if he becomes president of somebody who is notably ambitious is warming up behind him?

But that raises the question that John F. Kennedy famously confronted before he chose Lyndon Johnson in 1960, and is it better to have somebody who is so notably ambitious inside your tent rather than outside?

SCHORR: I think you probably stated it very well. I think at this point it might be a good idea. On the other hand, you know, Obama - most candidates or president don't like Number Two's who are too much with themselves, who know exactly what they want and have a following all their own.

He has to balance one thing with the other. There are pluses and minuses from his point of view, and I would not dare to predict how this will come out. Somehow I feel it's not going to be a senator but a governor.

SIMON: Senator McCain called Senator Obama on Wednesday to congratulate him. The two of them had what they each categorized as a "nice conversation," pledging a vigorous campaign that they hoped would be civil. Where do you see the campaign going next and how is going to shake out between the two of them?

SCHORR: Well, in a way, either as Number Two or as simply someone working with him, she indicated that even though she's not put on the ticket, she will still be out there campaigning for him. She has a great following all her own, which she can deliver or not deliver. And that, I think, is going to be his problem now, is getting her to deliver her supporters to him.

SIMON: OK, Dan. Thanks very much for being with us.

SCHORR: Sure thing.

SIMON: NPR's senior news analyst, Dan Schorr.

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