June 24th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Clinton turns attention back to the Senate

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Clinton talked with reporters about her first trip back to the Capitol since ending her presidential bid. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - After wrapping up the longest presidential primary campaign in modern history, Hillary Clinton told reporters Tuesday she is ready to turn her attention back to being the junior senator from New York.

"I look forward to being back with this great team," she said as she returned to the Senate at the end of a two-week vacation, taken after she conceded the 17-month-long primary contest to Sen. Barack Obama.

Watch: Clinton greeted with cheers

The second-term New York Democrat pledged to "immerse myself in there," pointing to the chamber.

She had just emerged from the party's weekly luncheon that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called "one of the most emotional caucuses" he's ever attended on Capitol Hill. He said the New York senator entered the event to a sea of high fives, cheers, and a standing ovation from her Democratic colleagues.

Clinton said the opportunity to run for the Oval Office allowed her to "immerse myself in the extraordinary resilience and resourcefulness that is the American people."

Listen to Clinton's comments

"And I come back with an even greater depth of awareness about what we have to do here in Washington," she said. "So many of the concerns that people have expressed to me over the course of this campaign are ones that they can't individually solve. They can't even really take it on just at the state or local level."

Clinton said that in addition to working "very hard to elect Sen. Obama our president," she plans to campaign on behalf of Democratic Senate candidates.

"We have been unfortunately stymied by the stalling tactics" of Republicans, she said, noting the need for 60 votes to get any legislation passed in the Senate.

"It's going to be up to the Democratic Party, and particularly the Democratic Senate, to make progress on everything from health care and the economy to ending the war in Iraq, and I look forward to being back with this great team that we have here and doing everything I can to make that happen," she said.

And Clinton told reporters she is not spending time on the possibility she may be asked to serve in the No. 2 spot on Barack Obama's presidential ticket.

"You know, it is not something that I think about," she said. "This is totally Sen. Obama's decision, and that's the way it should be."

But she made clear, as she tried to do in her ultimate concession speech June 7, that her supporters should not stray toward John McCain, no matter any hard feelings left over from a bruising primary.

"Anyone who voted for me has very little in common with the Republican Party," she said.

Thursday night, Obama and Clinton are set to meet with key donors in Washington. The next day, the two will appear jointly in Unity, New Hampshire - a small town on that state's western border where the two candidates tied in the January primary.

"This is going to be a symbolic event that I hope will rally the Democratic Party behind the nominee," she said.

soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. TEXAN

    Thank you Hillary for ALL your hard work. I am glad to see that you are doing well and are ready to go back to work at the Senate. We will appreciate ALL you can do to help Obama get elected in 2008. Thank you for being a gracious lady after all. YES.....WE ARE UNITED !!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. Karen in Cape Cod

    God Bless Hillary!

    June 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    Supporting Hillary with her strapped campaign does not guarantee a vote for Obama. Donations will help her run again.

    June 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. lindacisme

    It is interesting to read how so many of these remarks are from MEN saying "Good, now go back to work", and "Now make me a sandwich". With talk like that, why are you confused that there are angry women!!
    Hillary may be on board with getting this creep to be president.... but don't count on the rest of us..... Pelosi, Kennedy, Richardson and my favorite, Howard Dean, along w/ the far left media, will have to be taught a lesson.... and, oh yea, include he men who write those vill remarks.

    McCain in '08 – and you can all go you know where....

    June 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. No Comment from True Democrats

    True Democrat Comment is: NO COMMENT. CNN, you will not divide our party with these topics. Give McSame the same attention.
    Again, NO COMMENT! Please join me democrats...

    June 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. Clinton Supporter

    Simply the BEST! I hope she runs again. I can wait. I've been waiting for 42 years – what's another 4?

    June 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The Democratic party torn itself apart. Hill had more votes. Obama lacks experience and I could never vote for him. Corn Ethanol will make buying food harder for everyone, especially the lower income. I am suprise his supporters think his health care program covers everyone....it does not. People wake up. Check out J. McCain's web site.

    June 24, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Al

    There's no business like show business! HRC's show is B-rated and now she's back doing what she was elected to do but also back to Washington DC where the neverending show goes on with no happening (business as usual!).

    June 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Bill

    America's current brightest hope is Hillary Clinton.

    Obama will make a thorough mess of the Presidency. Hillary would have made it a joy. Ah well, we live and learn.

    June 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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