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As we mentioned earlier, Hillary Clinton is in Florida today stumping for Barack Obama. While Senator Clinton sang the praises of the Obama-Biden ticket, one thing she refused to do was attack Sarah Palin. From Kissimmee, Florida, NPR's Greg Allen reports.
GREG ALLEN: For Matthew Towsley (ph), who sells campaign buttons, T-shirts and other campaign paraphernalia, today was an opportunity to move some of the last of his Hillary Clinton merchandise. It was selling well.
Mr. MATTHEW TOWSLEY (Campaign Paraphernalia Vendor): A lot of people here, you know, were Hillary supporters who have - or, you know, Obama supporters now, but they still want to get the Hillary stuff.
ALLEN: Lorraine Edwards voted for Senator Clinton in January in Florida's presidential primary and today bought two Hillary Clinton campaign buttons. But now, she said she's taking a look at the only woman who is on a presidential ticket, Republican John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Edwards said her one misgiving is that she hasn't seen Palin yet speaking off the cuff without a prepared speech.
Ms. LORRAINE EDWARDS (Senator Clinton Supporter): I admire her. She seems very smart, very witty. You know, she seems to have a lot going for her. I don't know much about her yet, and I would kind of like to hear what she has to say and not what the party has her say.
ALLEN: Inside the Exhibition Hall at Osceola Heritage Park, it was a standing-room-only crowd of about 600 people, mostly women. There were chants of Hillary, Hillary as the former presidential candidate took the stage. Senator Clinton said she was there to deliver a simple message. She asked all of her supporters to work as hard as they can to elect Barack Obama president. As for her, Clinton said she'll be back in the Senate.
Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York): But I need a president to work with. I need a president who understands what it will take to save this country we love.
ALLEN: Senator Clinton talked about the economy, bringing the troops home from Iraq, the need for a new energy plan and health care reform - all things, she said, she did not hear from speakers at the Republican convention.
Senator CLINTON: The Republicans are trying to convince us to give them four more years to clean up the mess they made. Choosing a Republican to clean up this mess is like asking the iceberg to save the Titanic. It is not going to work.
(Soundbite of crowd applauding)
ALLEN: One thing that was not part of her speech today, though, was any direct reference to Sarah Palin. New polls show that, since the Republican convention, the presidential race has tightened, and many analysts credit Palin with making the difference.
Afterwards, Senator Clinton was asked about Sarah Palin's role in the race and whether the Alaska governor might attract some of the independents and women who voted for her in the primary. Senator Clinton said she couldn't speak for the 18 million people who voted for her, but that she believed Obama ultimately will get the votes he needs. Clinton also refused to take issue with Palin's recent reference to her and the quote, 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling that the Republican ticket was now prepared to shatter.
Senator CLINTON: I think it's a historic achievement, and it is certainly worthy of congratulations to the Republicans. We now have both of our major parties having nominated a woman for vice president: the Democrats in 1984, the Republicans in 2008. But what this election is really about is what each ticket would do for the people of this country.
ALLEN: If Senator Clinton seems inclined not to play the attack dog, one reason may be that she doesn't believe it's a tactic that's needed. "I've been in lots of elections and know what it takes to win," she said. And in this election, she said, Barack Obama is, in her words, "on the right side of history." Greg Allen, NPR News, Kissimmee, Florida.
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