WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just over an hour after Sen. Hillary Clinton completed her speech endorsing Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee issued the following statement:
"Obviously, I am thrilled and honored to have Senator Clinton's support. But more than that, I honor her today for the valiant and historic campaign she has run. She shattered barriers on behalf of my daughters and women everywhere, who now know that there are no limits to their dreams. And she inspired millions with her strength, courage and unyielding commitment to the cause of working Americans. Our party and our country are stronger because of the work she has done throughout her life, and I'm a better candidate for having had the privilege of competing with her in this campaign. No one knows better than Senator Clinton how desperately America and the American people need change, and I know she will continue to be in the forefront of that battle this fall and for years to come."
Obama watched Clinton's speech over the Internet on a computer, a campaign aide said. He put in a call to Clinton afterward, but was told by a Clinton assistant that she was speaking with supporters.
In the final minutes of the speech, a top Obama strategist was pleased with the message, saying there was “no ambiguity” about her support for the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The strategist characterized the speech as “very generous” and said that he “appreciates it’s hard.”
NEW: In an e-mail sent Saturday, the Obama campaign urged supporters to help grow "our grassroots network of ordinary people giving only what they can afford. ... If you give right now, a previous donor has agreed to match your gift, doubling its impact. Help us reach our goal of 20,000 new donors by making a matching donation today."
Full story: Clinton endorses Obama, calls for unity
(CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton announced the suspenseion of her presidential campaign Saturday and her endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - What a long, strange, unhappy trip it's been for Bill Clinton.
When Sen. Hillary Clinton officially launched her drive for the White House 17 months ago, the former president's possibilities seemed endless. His wife's nomination by many of the party faithful was seen as a virtual certainty.
When the Clintons moved back into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the political world would once again be Bill Clinton's oyster. Maybe even a co-presidency.
Perhaps he would get another crack at settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some even speculated that he would follow in the footsteps of William Howard Taft and become the second ex-president to serve on the Supreme Court.
Suddenly many of those possibilities are gone, or at least significantly reduced. The 42nd president's reputation as a master politician and respected elder statesman has been damaged. Some Clinton partisans are privately grumbling that he helped sink his wife's presidential campaign.
How did this happen? How did it all go so wrong for the man who almost single-handedly led the Democrats out of the political wilderness 16 years ago?
(CNN) - Former comedian Al Franken, whose bid for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota was threatened by controversy over jokes from his past, won a crucial endorsement from the state Democratic party Saturday.
The DFL Convention endorsed Franken unanimously on the first ballot in Rochester, Saturday, after rival Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer conceded the vote to him and urged the party to unanimously back him. Nelson-Pallmeyer’s withdrawal means Franken will likely not face a major primary challenger, and will be expected to face Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman in November.
The former "Saturday Night Live" writer drew criticism from political rivals in recent weeks for off-color jokes during his career, including an essay in “Playboy” Magazine a decade ago.
In his speech before the state convention, Franken told the crowd, “I’ve had some tough conversations this week. It kills me that things I said and wrote sent a message to some of my friends in this room and people in this state that they can’t count on me to be a champion for women, a champion for all Minnesotans, in this campaign and in the Senate”
He said, “I’m sorry for that. Because that’s not who I am”.
Franken apologized for the content of some of his material in the past, saying “for 35 years, I was a writer. I wrote a lot of jokes. Some of them weren’t funny. Some of them were inappropriate. Some of them were downright offensive. I understand that. And I understand that the people of Minnesota deserve a Senator who won’t say things that make them uncomfortable. But I’m in this race because there are some people in Washington who could afford to feel a little less comfortable.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton urged supporters at her final rally Saturday to back Barack Obama with the same enthusiasm they'd had for her presidential bid - but not everyone was ready to follow her instruction.
Arms crossed, David Rivera of Baltimore told a reporter that "it will be a cold day down there before I support - that man." The nomination, he said, had been "stolen" from Clinton. "She won the popular vote, the people wanted her. [Democratic National Committee chairman] Howard Dean didn't."
But his wife Maria said she was ready to follow Clinton's example. "In campaigns, there are winners, and there are losers," she said. "You can't sit and think about what went wrong forever. You have to move forward."
She said she belonged to a grassroots group of nearly two dozen Clinton supporters who called and canvassed for her in the days leading up to Maryland's presidential primary, and that nearly all of them have now decided to volunteer for Obama.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In concert with her speech Saturday, the banner image across Hillary Clinton’s Web site flipped to “Support Sen. Obama today.”
The site – which has been a central part of Clinton’s fund-raising efforts and a signature part of her speeches – now asks supporters get behind Sen. Barack Obama and “together we can write the next chapter in America’s story.” The box alongside the email sign-up, however, still solicits contributions to her campaign.
Clinton has suspended her presidential campaign. By suspending instead of dropping out, she technically remains a candidate, entitled to keep statewide pledged delegates and district-level delegates.
A video message on the site, posted four days ago, thanks her supporters, telling them: “I could not have made this part of the journey without you,” but makes no mention of the presidential nominee.
Update: Sen. Obama has returned the favor online. The Obama campaign's Web site has been altered to allow visitors to leave messages of thanks for Sen. Clinton. Click here to see this new feature on the Obama site.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hundreds of young supporters and volunteers were on hand to witness Hillary Clinton’s exit from the presidential race, but the crowd at her last campaign rally Saturday was dominated by the middle-aged white women who have been the most loyal element of her base.
As the crowd filed out into the 90-degree Washington afternoon, 63-year-old June Stevenson of Columbia, Maryland – who said she would be donating to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign that evening – added that the failure of Clinton’s presidential run felt personal: she and Clinton came from the same generation of women on the front lines of the feminist fights of the 1970s. “It will be another 10 years, 20 years, maybe more before we get another chance like this,” Stevenson said.
“There won’t be another chance like this one,” responded her friend Linda Cohen, pointing out that if a woman were elected president in the next decade or two, they were unlikely to be a Baby Boomer. “Our time has passed,” she said with a laugh.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Hillary Clinton will take a vacation from the campaign trail next week, her chairman Terry McAuliffe told CNN Saturday. McAuliffe, however, wouldn't disclose the location.
"Next week, she and the family need to take a little time off. We all need to take a little break. Get ourselves energized and come back out campaigning. But I'm not giving away Hillary Clinton's vacation plans," McAuliffe told CNN's Wolf Blitzer and John King. He joked: "The press just asked me where we're going, and I said 'Disneyland, where else?' I want to go to the Magic Kingdom with Hillary."
CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley prepares to go live after Hillary Clinton's speech Saturday at the National Building Museum in Washington. Photo credit: CNN.