Dems to place Hillary's name in nomination

Move designed to calm Clinton delegates

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Hillary Clinton’s name will be placed in nomination along with Barack Obama’s at the Democratic National Convention, and the traditional state-by-state roll call will proceed as planned on the third day of the convention.

“I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton’s historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong, united fashion,” said Obama in a statement issued jointly with Clinton.

The media release said the Obama campaign had encouraged Clinton to have her name placed in nomination “as a show of unity and in recognition of the historic race she ran.”

The announcement should assuage Clinton delegates, who have been mounting a petition drive to have her name placed in nomination for the sake of fairness and history. Had the petition failed, they had planned to make a mass exodus during prime time TV coverage of the convention.

The nomination gesture poses no threat to Obama. The Illinois senator has more than enough votes to clinch the party’s nomination, which requires at least 2,118 delegates.

At last report, Obama had 2,254 delegates and Clinton had 1,890. Those figures do not account for delegates who may have moved from Clinton to Obama after she suspended her campaign.

“With every voice heard and the party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama president of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again,” Clinton stated in the Obama campaign release.

“We assumed that this would happen,” said Pat Waak, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. “There had been discussions between Obama and Clinton advisers, and the outcome depended on Senator Clinton.”

“As I understand it, she had mixed reactions about being nominated,” said Waak. “Now that the decision has been made, it’s clear, and we can move on.”

Clinton and her advisers debated whether her nomination would create a perception that the party was divided, diminishing the unity of Obama’s support. In addition, the New York senator reportedly considered a possible negative reaction that could affect her political future.

That sharply contrasted with the rumors circulating by phone, e-mails and blogs that Obama had opposed Clinton’s inclusion in the nomination process.

“The rumors were started by people who are brand new to the process,” said Waak. “It was like a pitch of hysteria being promoted out there.”

One rumor claimed that Obama would be nominated by acclamation. Another asserted that Clinton would not be nominated, and that any votes cast for her would be recorded as “present.”

Clinton delegates networked on Web sites such as PUMApac, Together4Us, HillaryClintonforum, AlwaysForHillary, Justsaynodeal and the Denver Group.

“This Web site is committed to providing a lasting virtual community for all supporters of Hillary Clinton. For 18 million voters, Hillary Clinton is a great beacon of hope. She has spent a lifetime working to make our country fairer, stronger and more diverse. Whatever she chooses to do in the coming months and years, the mission of this Web site is to keep her supporters together… Godspeed.” – www.together4us.com

Several sites boasted thousands of signatures on petitions to have her name placed in nomination. The sites offer information on a parade and rally for Clinton on the second day of the convention.

“I’m relieved,” said Sonya Jaquez Lewis, a Clinton delegate from Lafayette. “I’m believing it’s a done deal.”

“It came down to fairness,” Lewis said. “This is going be a historic convention.”

“I got a call from an Obama delegate who asked me, ‘Now, what are going to ask for next?’” said Lewis. “I told him ‘vice president.’ I hope he’ll pick Hillary Clinton as the nominee. That I would love!”

Lewis doesn’t think that’s likely, but said she’d consider supporting Obama’s running mate. “It depends on the nominee’s stance on issues.”

A few days ago, Clinton’s delegates complained of being shunned, uninformed and even threatened.

Sasha Millstone, of Boulder, told reporters last week that she had retained an attorney to protect her delegate status. Millstone was asked to come to state Democractic Party Headquarters to discuss comments that she’d made about Obama in a private e-mail conversation.

The notice from William C. (Billy) Compton read in part:

“A complaint has been filed with the Colorado Democratic Party, by a fellow Democratic National Convention delegate…in light of the disparaging remarks you have made and continue to make regarding our party’s presumptive nominee for President, Sen. Obama.”

The complaint has since been dropped.

“All of us have been annoyed and frustrated,” said Lewis, who complained of being kept out of the information loop. “In response, I got a form letter… We get these e-mails and phone calls to come to the Obama headquarters to learn about the convention. It feels like the Obama campaign wants to recruit us.”

Waak said she’s aware of the complaint, but declared that all delegates are being treated equally.

“The party is not discriminating between the delegates,” said Waak. “Everyone is receiving information as soon as we get it. As the invitations to events come in, every single delegate will get the same invitation.”

Some information is being handled by the Obama campaign, Waak said, such as media training and obtaining community credentials for delegates’ families and friends to Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field.

The friction between the Obama and Clinton supporters has been evident since the February caucuses and continued with Clinton-vs.-Obama shout-a-thons at the state party convention in May.

But for some delegates, the tension has at times exploded from competitive cheering into hateful anonymous e-mails.

“I’ve received e-mails saying, “ ‘You should die,’ ‘You’re a whore’ and ‘You hate your country,’” said Lewis.

Although she doesn’t know the source of the hate messages, she says she believes they’re from Obama supporters.

“There’s not going to be a fight at the convention,” said former state Sen. Polly Baca, a Clinton delegate. “We’ve seen this before. This isn’t new. In 1992, I recall Paul Tsongas delegates refused to support Bill Clinton. One of them was Congresswoman Pat Schroeder.”

Clinton won the nomination without 10 percent or 20 percent of the delegates ever voting for him.

“It didn’t matter,” said Baca.