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Opinion: Clinton professes party unity -- and does not approve McCain’s message

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It’s always tempting to read between the lines when a Clinton talks about Barack Obama, but Hillary Clinton was unambiguous today when she made her first appearance in Denver at a breakfast for delegates from her home state of New York.

“We are gathered here in Denver for a very clear and simple purpose,” said Clinton, “and that is to come out of this convention energized and excited and ready to elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.”

The crowd of New Yorkers stood to cheer her; a few delegates waved placards reading, “Hillary made history.”

“We were not all on the same side as Democrats,” she added, “but we are now. We are united and we are together and we are determined.”

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There is, of course, plenty of evidence that the Democratic Party is not fully unified behind the Obama candidacy, as stories have trickled out about tensions between Clinton and Obama supporters and enduring tension between both campaigns. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Obama’s political mentor, Illinois State Senate president Emil Jones, called a black Clinton delegate an “Uncle Tom” in Denver on Saturday night. (Jones denied it; the newspaper quoted two people who witnessed the exchange.)

And Politico reported today that former President Bill Clinton was “disappointed” that the topic he is expected to address on Wednesday night is America’s security because he wanted to talk about the economy and how much better it was when he was president.

But Hillary Clinton, who spoke for only 10 minutes, was a study in support. To that end, she occasionally lapsed into the strained folksiness that sometimes afflicted her on the campaign trail: “Why is this important? Well, I don’t want to live through another Republican administration, I don’t know about you. Goodness, you know, how many times can you yell at the TV screen?”

She said she was looking forward to increasing the number of Senate Democrats next year, to give “President Obama … a filibuster-proof Senate.”

Finally, she alluded to the TV ads that John McCain has been running, with primary season footage of Clinton criticizing Obama.

“Let me state what I think about their tactics and these ads,” she said. “I’m Hillary Clinton and I do not approve that message!

-- Robin Abcarian

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