DENVER — Even the Obama delegates were reaching for Clinton signs.
Such was the intensity of the moment, as delegates of every political stripe grabbed up the white signs — “Paid for by Obama for America” — with the dark blue “Hillary” script that were distributed just before the senator from New York took the stage.
On the Tuesday night when no one at the Democratic National Convention talked about anything except New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech before, during or after the defeated presidential candidate addressed the convention that might have been hers.
Even before Clinton took the stage, when her image flashed on the massive screen behind the convention podium and the Kinks song “You Really Got Me” blasted through the loudspeakers, the crowd was up and cheering.
And they did not stop.
Of course the Clinton delegates cheered. But so did the Obama delegates.
Hillary had them all. And she gave them to Barack Obama — not at the end of her address, but with the opening line.
“I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud senator from New York. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama,” Clinton began, to the roar of a crowd that she told: “Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.”
This was not just an endorsement. It was an argument with her most ardent supporters that they did not fight for her but for issues and ideals.
“I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me?” Clinton demanded in a speech that had the entire hall riveted. “Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?
Clinton did not cheat the historic moment.
The candidate who won 18 million votes and more convention delegates that any woman in the history of major-party politics.
America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to the challenge of every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.
And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I’m a United States Senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women’s rights in our history.