Obama Meets with Clinton After Va. Campaign Stop Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had a private meeting Thursday night in Washington, D.C. The former rivals discussed ways to unify their campaigns. Obama also spent Thursday campaigning in Virginia. The last time Democrats won Virginia in a presidential election was 1964.
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Obama Meets with Clinton After Va. Campaign Stop

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Obama Meets with Clinton After Va. Campaign Stop

Obama Meets with Clinton After Va. Campaign Stop

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Steve Inskeep is reporting from Karachi, Pakistan. I'm Renee Montagne at NPR West.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton held a private meeting last night in Washington. An Obama spokesman says it was a chance for the two to talk about "bringing their campaigns together in unity." Earlier Obama campaigned in Virginia. That's one place where Democrats hope to redraw the political map in November. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: Last night's meeting was the first chance for the Democratic rivals to have an extended conversation since Obama clinched his party's nomination on Tuesday. They tried to keep it quiet. Obama ditched his usual press entourage before the meeting.

But the Illinois senator has been praising Clinton at every opportunity, and he makes no secret of reaching out to her supporters.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois, Presumptive Presidential Nominee): We're going to speak to them but also listen to them, get advice. They did very well in a number of states where we need help. We're going to try, you know, with all humility to seek their support and figure out how we can all work together to win in November.

HORSLEY: Obama's first campaign stop as his party's presumptive nominee was Virginia, a southern state that hasn't gone Democratic in a presidential race since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man: (Singing) Just the good ole boys, never meaning no harm...

HORSLEY: On a hot sticky night in northern Virginia, thousands of people filled an outdoor amphitheater to celebrate Obama's primary win and hear his plans for boosting the economy, making college more affordable, and ending the war in Iraq.

Sen. OBAMA: I am here to say to you, Virginia, let the work begin; let us start right now, building that better future.

HORSLEY: Obama also held a town hall meeting devoted to health care in southwestern Virginia. That part of the state has been reliably Republican, but Democrats believe Obama could carry Virginia with a larger turnout of African-American voters and a strong showing in the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Virginia Democrats have won statewide races for the Senate and the governor's office in recent years. And Governor Tim Kaine told Obama supporters it's time to extend that winning streak.

Governor TIM KAINE (Democrat, Virginia): I want you to put on your running shoes; I want you to open your checkbooks. We're going to make this happen; we're going to make history in Virginia.

HORSLEY: Obama was also joined at the rally by Senator Jim Webb, a Democratic superdelegate who'd remained neutral until now. Webb and Kaine have both been mentioned as possible running mates for Obama.

Benita Brown, who was listening in the audience, says she's confident the Democrats can carry her state.

Ms. BENITA BROWN (Barack Obama Supporter): I live in Virginia and everybody that I can rally around to vote I am going to rally them.

HORSLEY: Brown concedes the long primary campaign took a toll on the party, but she's convinced any hard feelings will quickly pass.

Ms. BROWN: Some might be a little upset right now but the bottom line is that we have had enough of the Republicans. It's time for something new and different.

HORSLEY: Clinton is planning to announce her formal support for Obama tomorrow. Both Democrats say the differences between them are small compared to their differences with Republicans.

GOP candidate John McCain is campaigning the battleground state of Florida, today, where he plans to tour the Everglades in an air boat. At a meeting with Florida newspaper editors yesterday, McCain was grilled for voting against funding for Everglades restoration. McCain argued the measure was part of an overloaded spending bill.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona, Presumed Presidential Nominee): If we start piling on project after project, some of them, as I said, good, and some of them bad - as I was just mentioning about the earmark process - then spending gets completely out of control.

HORSLEY: McCain telephoned Obama earlier this week to congratulate him on securing his party's nomination. Obama says they joked about how unlikely it would have seemed a year ago that either of them would be on a presidential ticket. Both men said they hoped to wage a respectful contest with no demonizing or Internet innuendo. First though, Obama says he plans to take the weekend off, go on a date with his wife and a bike ride with his two daughters.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

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