: If you missed it, see the speech here
From TPM Reader KW
For those who found Hillary's concession speech to be too much about her I would only say it was about those of us who supported her candidacy. Her speech was inspiring and gracious and spoke to the millions of Democrats, Republicans and Indpendents who worked for her campaign and voted for her. If there are those Democrats who still feel it is necessary to denigrate Senator Clinton and her run for the Presidency, I would ask them to think about the change they advocate and the no more politics as usual. The only way to say no to the Washington politics of the past 20 years is to stop hating and start moving forward. Senator Clinton delivered a message of hope and action that deserves praise rather than condemnation. As a woman of what the media pundits have chosen to call "a certain age", I am decidely saddened by her withdrawal, but I also understand that she has lost the contest for the nomination. That loss, however, does not give anyone who supports the candidacy of Senator Obama the right to laugh or express derision about Senator Clinton or her supporters. That loss does not give anyone the right to think any less of her and what she stands for as a Democrat, as a woman, and as a viable candidate for President of the United States. I fear that view will not be one shared by many supporters of Senator Obama. I have been disheartened by the level of incivility expressed by both sides during this race and would hope that the winning side will not now gloat and the losing pout. If there is to truly be change in this country, we do not have room or time for such behavior. A John McCain presidency would certainly be a disaster for the United States and for the rest of the world; we cannot hope to keep him from winning next November by discounting the views and votes of 18 million Americans.
From TPM Reader BC
I disagree with David's speculation that those of us who are not Clinton fans would think it was too much about her. I live in NY and voted against her in her last Senate primary and this year's Presidential primary.
I thought it was a fantastic speech. In fact, if her actions in the Senate had matched the rhetoric of that speech, she would be the consensus nominee going away. She dug herself a pretty deep hole with her actions over the past month capped off by her non-concession earlier in the week. Excused the mixed metaphor, but that speech cleared the slate as much as a speech possibly could have. Her support of Obama sounded utterly sincere and whole hearted.
Now, let's see if the actions live up to the words ...
From TPM Reader JS
She did so much "just right" and could have won it had she not had the rough treatment from the media. I sensed that you found it difficult to pay her a compliment even now.
As one of those loyal supporters who are feeling let down by the process, let me say that I will likely come around to voting for Obama-absolutely never for McCain.
You like to put it all on her. Obama is the victor, now let's see what he does. The burden is on him as it should be. We knew she would deliver. Listen to her speech and focus on her words about taking it all and going on with grace. She always has and will continue to do so. Yes, I'm one of the women who looks to her for strength and example. She picks herself up and goes on and you all keep delivering the vicious, over the top negatives and there she is back in view with grace.
She did it for us and will continue to be our spokeswoman. She has more than earned it. We know she gets it and has done so much for women and children around the world.
Now let's see if Obama can deliver. He has much to do and undo. Yes, his unfortunate comments "Hillary, you are likeable enough" spoke volumes. He was some work to do.
Thanks for inviting comments.
TPM Reader EM
I thought Hillary's speech was a little schizophrenic, maybe like her campaign. It obviously had cobbled together sections, and I thought it was clear that her heart was most in the parts about her and her supporters. This came across in several ways:
1) She continued with that insistent use of the word I rather than a more inclusive our or this when talking about the campaign. There was also that odd, ambiguous little moment near the beginning of the speech when she said something about having wanted to regain the White House.
2) Technically, Obama has a name with a built-in charge. In poetic terms, it's a strong iamb for his first name, strong amphibrach for the last. It's a name that's all but designed for creating a rhetorical point. Hillary made it uneventful and conversational, quiet, a little sing-songy, as if it were all she could do even to say it.
3) She kept that dazzling smile she's shown off in this campaign entirely away from the endorsement parts.
4) While she used some of Obama's campaign language effectively, she didn't come up with anything soaring about what it means to her that there's an African-American nominee for president; she didn't really say that there'd been two mirroring paths to the nomination, both about inclusion and equality of opportunity, and that now those paths need to join as one single road to the White House.
All that said, as a concession speech and a rallying of the troups, I think it was all that the Obama camp could have wanted given how recently the campaign ended, and how deeply invested Hillary was in her desire to be president. I felt it was Hillary at her best, but I feel that best, in spite of all her gifts, lacks a certain empathetic core and magnanimity of spirit, which is probably why she could make the bruising mistakes in her campaign that probably cost her the nomination.
TPM Reader MS
For all the talk of whether Clinton's concession speech was sufficient to bring her most ardent supporters into the Obama fold, I think the speech accomplished something else, at least for me, a strong Obama supporter: it softened my opinion of Clinton at a time when I had become absolutely fed up with her escalating nonsense over the last few weeks. While I still don't think an Obama/Clinton ticket is ideal for purely political reasons (there are better possibilities), I now would not be as opposed to such a ticket on a purely visceral, personal level. I couldn't have said that yesterday. If one of Clinton's goals today was to begin repairing the division between herself and those voters who didn't support her, I believe she succeeded.
TPM Reader DG
Senator Hillary Clinton made me so very proud to be a woman and a Democrat today. As an Obama supporter, I was very concerned. Turns out I needn't have been concerned. Hillary proved herself to be a classy, loyal, smart woman, and her speech was an example of how great this country can be!!!!
TPM Reader NG
Hillary's concession and endorsement speech was near perfect. She drew her audience gently up to the moment when she brought up Obama, endorsed him and offered words that I briefly thought might well have come from him (as you pointed out), and then just as gently led her folks out the open door with her. Masterful.
At the same time, to those who think this was a great indication that she should be VP, I have this thought: Speaking the way she has today I believe she can be much MORE effective a surrogate in the general specifically if she is NOT on the ballot (with an obvious personal stake in the outcome).
There are plenty of places for her to go, plenty of people for her to persuade, and she should not be hampered by being on the ticket.
TPM Reader MM
DK asked for a "thought," so here's mine. After her much criticized speech earlier this week, I dug through my record collection to find my vinyl copy of Ted Kennedy's 'concession' speeech from the 1980 Democratic Convention. (Yep--they released one and I bought it 27+ yrs ago). It was, from beginning to end Ted Kennedy's acceptance speech. It contained one sentence, in the final paragraph, acknowledging Carter's nomination. (I congratulate President Carter on his victory). Other than that, he essentially claimed the nomination that the voters had given to Carter months before. Standing at the podium of the Convention itself, Kennedy let the nation know he believed he deserved the nomination.
That speech reminded me all over again of the legitimacy of the charge that Kennedy tore the party apart over his failed ambition.
Compared to that speech, and even in its own right, Hillary's speech was a model of grace and reconciliation. Once the speech is published, it will be easy to nibble away at the sentences where she held on to this or that difference with Sen Obama. But those who expected Hillary to give Obama a pinched and begrudging support need to admit that they were very wrong. Who gives a damn if it took her a couple of extra days to do it?
TPM Reader VM
I have to agree with David and Greg that Hillary Clinton's concession was one of the best political speeches ever given.
I'm from Illinois, so I was an early and enthusiastic Obama supporter. Throughout the campaign, I kept trying hard to take the high road, insisting that I would support Hillary if she were the nominee. At times in this highly competitive campaign, it was hard. Very hard.
As I listened to Hillary's speech, the thought that kept running through my mind was how gracious and she was. I'd like to think that if my candidate were in her shoes, he would be equally magnimous. Most importantly, I'd like to think that I would accept the words of my candidate in the spirit intended.
The speech would ring hollow if she did not refer to the historic nature of her candidacy, and to its successes. As an Obama supporter, I'm fine with her taking a victory lap; she deserves it.
I hope that other Obama supporters acknowledge our friends who supported Clinton. Clinton ran a great campaign, and it was historic. Our friends should be congratulated.
And as for the times that I may have been negative towards Clinton during this primary -- well, that's what happens during an extremely competitive campaign. I'm glad that my candidate won, but I'm also glad that Hillary is still around. Had Obama lost, I would certainly expect him to remain visible and active in national politics. For the same reasons, I hope Hillary remains in the spotlight.