Clinton Delegates Await Roll Call Vote

Hillary Clinton's moment in the spotlight at the Democratic National Convention in Denver had been much anticipated. Many Clinton delegates say they won't be ready to move on and support Barack Obama until they get a chance to vote for her in Wednesday's roll call tally of the states. The details of the roll call vote are still being worked out.

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

This is Debbie Elliott in Denver. Hillary Clinton's moment in the spotlight was the talk of the convention all week. When she took to the podium, Clinton supporters jumped to their feet, waving Hillary signs - some shaking tambourines.

(Soundbite of applause)

ELLIOTT: After the speech, 59-year-old Billie Brandon, an Ohio delegate from Mansfield, choked back tears.

Ms. BILLIE BRANDON (Delegate, Ohio): It meant the world to me to be able to cheer her on because she is such a great woman and she stands for so much that women have fought for.

ELLIOTT: Ohio was an important primary victory for Hillary Clinton, and for Barack Obama to win this key state in November he will need the help of voters like Billie Brandon. Earlier this week she said she was feeling ignored and left out as a Clinton delegate, but the senator's call for unity now has Brandon thinking about the future.

Ms. BRANDON: Now, I've got to do what she's asked me to do and support my party.

ELLIOTT: Will you be able to do that?

Ms. BRANDON: I hope so. We need the Republicans out of the White House.

ELLIOTT: Still, many Clinton delegates say they won't be ready to move on until they get a chance to vote for her in today's roll call tally of the states. The details of which were still being worked out late last night.

Don Fowler was chairman of the Democratic National Committee when Bill Clinton was president. He said Hillary Clinton's speech was intended to seal the deal for Barack Obama, and now her supporters should follow suit because the nation is watching.

Mr. DON FOWLER (Former Chairman, Democratic National Committee): I have had a few conversations here with people who are my friends who were very avid supporters of Senator Clinton, as was I, who still think that they haven't adequately expressed themselves. And I hope they will change their minds because this convention literally could make the difference in winning and losing.

Debbie Elliott, NPR News, Denver.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And you can hear NPR's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention tonight on many public radio stations and also at NPR.org, where you will also find full coverage, including analysis, profiles and political blogs.

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Clinton: 'Barack Obama Is My Candidate'

Audio Highlights

Read transcripts and hear the audio from some of Tuesday night's key speeches:

Sen. Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea check out the setup at the Pepsi Center. i i

Sen. Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea check out the setup at the Pepsi Center, where Clinton will address the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption John Moore/Getty Images
Sen. Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea check out the setup at the Pepsi Center.

Sen. Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea check out the setup at the Pepsi Center, where Clinton will address the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night.

John Moore/Getty Images
A protester holds up a Hillary sign and a rubber mask of Hillary Clinton. i i

Outside the Pepsi Center on Tuesday, it was obvious Hillary Clinton still has plenty of loyal supporters. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
A protester holds up a Hillary sign and a rubber mask of Hillary Clinton.

Outside the Pepsi Center on Tuesday, it was obvious Hillary Clinton still has plenty of loyal supporters.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton delivered an impassioned plea for party unity in a forceful address to the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, declaring, "Barack Obama is my candidate and he must be our president."

Clinton, who narrowly lost the race for the Democratic nomination to Obama, delivered her anxiously awaited speech before a packed house at the Pepsi Center in Denver, jokingly giving her thanks "to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits" while wearing an orange pantsuit.

But she also challenged her supporters, many of whom have been reluctant to transfer their allegiance to Obama. "I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or ... were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

Clinton called presumptive Republican nominee John McCain a colleague and friend but said the nation doesn't "need four more years of the last eight years." She said it made sense that McCain and George Bush would be together for next week's Republican convention "in the Twin Cities, because they're awfully hard to tell apart."

'Psychological Release'

Clinton was given an extended ovation before and after her address. And at least some of her supporters were mollified by her remarks.

"I feel psychologically released," said Clinton delegate Deborah Hauser of New Haven, Conn. "She reminded me I didn't vote just for Hilary but for progressive ideals."

Fellow Connecticut delegate Jennifer Just, an Obama supporter, said Clinton "did what she needed to do" in rallying her supporters behind Obama.

Obama may have thought so as well. He reportedly called Clinton after her speech to congratulate her.

Earlier in the night, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who's now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, delivered a keynote speech focused on economic themes.

"The most important contest of our generation has begun — not the campaign for the presidency or the campaign for Congress, but the race for the future," he said, adding that electing Obama president is the nation's "one shot to get it right."

Warner said that race won't be won "by a president who is stuck in the past." He said the nation needs "a president who understands the world today. We need Barack Obama as the next president of the United States."

'Wake Up, America.' Unleashing Attacks On McCain

But most of Warner's remarks were devoid of the sort of partisanship that characterized many of the Democrats' speeches on the convention's second day, and more in tune with the post-partisan approach that Obama has embraced.

"I know we're at the Democratic National Convention, but if an idea works, it really doesn't matter if it has an 'R' or 'D' next to it," Warner said.

Several of the nation's Democratic governors were given prime-time opportunities to address the convention. Ohio's Ted Strickland, a Clinton supporter during the primary, said, "It's time for a president who will bring our jobs back and bring our troops home. It's time for Barack Obama."

While there was some consternation among Democratic pundits that there weren't enough attacks on McCain's record in Monday's opening session of the convention, most Democrats seemed to shake off any hesitation on Tuesday. Speaker after speaker tied McCain to the unpopular presidency of George Bush.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a staunch Clinton backer during the primary season, targeted the high cost of gasoline and said the Bush administration "stonewalled taxing energy company profits. Guess who voted with the Bush administration 90 percent of the time? John McCain."

Rendell noted that many of McCain's top advisers work as lobbyists for oil and gas companies, and said, "The only thing green in John McCain's energy plans are the billions of dollars he's promising in more tax cuts to oil companies."

Ohio congressman and one-time presidential contender Dennis Kucinich delivered a populist-tinged speech that had many delegates on their feet. "They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children's inheritance and hollow out the economy. We cannot afford another Republican administration. Wake up, America."

How Will The Roll Call Play Out?

Wednesday may provide a clearer picture of the extent of unity among Democratic delegates as the roll call of the states is held. A traditional convention staple, the roll call has been the subject of delicate negotiations between the Obama campaign and Clinton backers.

Obama's supporters want to avoid a noisy and potentially divisive demonstration of support for Clinton, while supporters of Clinton say the roll call will provide the "catharsis" they deserve. The compromise appears to be to allow the roll call to proceed until after the New York delegation casts its votes. At that time, Clinton would end the proceedings and call for Obama to be nominated by acclamation.

The highlight of Wednesday night will be the speech by Obama's new running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware. Biden, notoriously loquacious, may be hard-pressed to limit his remarks to the prime-time window allotted by the TV networks.

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