(CNN) - After 17 months of vigorously promoting her own candidacy, Hillary Clinton made her debut on Thursday as an official backer of Barack Obama.
Clinton appeared before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials meeting in Washington and forcefully argued the Illinois senator would be a strong advocate of the Latino community if he is elected president.
Related: Unity is theme for Obama, Clinton
Earlier, she told the American Nurses Association that “Anyone who voted for me has little in common with the Republican Party.”
Clinton formally backed her onetime rival nearly three weeks ago, but Thursday's appearances were the first time that the New York senator has advocated for Obama's candidacy publicly in front of voters.
Watch: Obama, Clintons: Hard feelings?
"I know Senator Obama. I have served with him now for nearly four years in the Senate. I campaigned with him for more than 16 months on the campaign trail. I have stood on the stage in 22 debates, but who is counting," Clinton said to laughter.
"Every issue you care about personally, every issue that your constituents care about, every issue that NALEO is fighting for is really at risk," She continued. "We cannot afford four more years of the same. It wont be good for any of us, and therefore we have to be determined to chart a new course, and cannot do that without electing Senator Obama our president."
The NALEO appearance seals Clinton's reentry into the 2008 presidential campaign, 19 days after she called her White House bid quits. It came only hours before Clinton and Obama are set to appear together before powerful Democratic fundraisers that have largely supported Clinton's bid in the Democratic primary. And on Friday, the two senators will head to Unity, New Hampshire, in their first foray on the campaign trail together.
Latino voters overwhelmingly supported Clinton's White House bid throughout the primary season and some Clinton surrogates suggested Obama may have trouble courting the influential voting bloc in the general election.
Specifically, ardent Clinton backer Terry McAuliffe said the New York senator's overwhelming win in Puerto Rico proved Obama had a "problem with the Latino community," and "cannot close in this key core constituency.
But the NALEO audience was all cheers for the Illinois senator Thursday, showing few signs Obama will have difficulty courting the demographic as the general election campaign heats up.
As for Clinton, she told the crowd she "had a lot of fun" campaigning for president, even though there were "some tough times."
"What I remember were all of the faces, all of the people who came out to support me, all of the elected officials who stood by my side, all of the funny things that happened in a campaign that you don't ever predict, but which are memorable," she said.
You can see the pain in her eyes....
You go girl,
we love you Hill
Wish you were the nominee instead of Obama
Hillary, I understand you are doing this for political reasons only. Who can blame you. I know deep inside you are angry with the Democrats and Obama. So am I. That's why I'm voting for McCain.
Go Obama. He has my support 100%. Excellent candidate. Hillary has to worry about her trial in November against Ron Paul
The problem with political theater is that it is just that: Theater.
Hillary backers are upset because they are realizing that this "fight" between Obama and Hillary was as staged as a professional wrestling match.
They don't hate each other, they just want the prize. So they say whatever it takes to get us all riled up and into the voting booth.
All of us should step back and leave raw emotion out of our political choices. This primary battle has shown us where it leads – nowhere.
I still feel the pain, and just know we have to move forward to bring in the democratic into the whitehouse.
Welcome back Sen. Clinton. I hope you and Barack will work hard to fix this mess the Republican have made.
Good for you Hillary. This is a good first step in the direction of re-earning the respect of people in the electorate like me, who were completely turned off by your words and actions during the primary campaign. You can still have a ground-breaking and meaningful career – keep it up. Good luck.
I am so proud of Mrs. Clinton if you can't beat them join them.
My only hope is that that you are on the ticket. Then I could vote easier for Obama.
Thanks for your support, Mrs. Clinton. It's the right thing to do
"Hillary, I understand you are doing this for political reasons only. Who can blame you. I know deep inside you are angry with the Democrats and Obama. So am I. That's why I'm voting for McCain."
You mean – that's why you are an idiot.
I'm proud that Hillary is supporting Obama keeping in line with what the Democratic Party needs to win in November. Let's start planning the victory party!!!!
Very nice Billary..........Now go hide someplace where no body has to see you or hear you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry Hillary, I used to be a fan until you showed me that you are a lying, conniving, greedy, selfish woman. You showed us your true colors during the primaries and I thank you. As a woman, you made me ashamed. I don't care if you campaign for Barack or not, it is obvious he doesn't need you or your bitter supporters.
Clinton/McCain, she should be mad at the people, we voted for Obama
Your comment do not make any sense... But it is ok, we cant satisfy you extreme radical Christians, nor can McCain, nor do we want to...
> That's why I'm voting for McCain.
Please do it and just shut the h ell up about it. We don't care.
I believe Hillary Clinton is a bit is out of line backing obama after all the things that were said during their campaign, same goes for bill my vote is for McCain now. this whole democratic is wishy washy ,I belive thei both hypocrytes
I'm putting this here because commens got closed for the Michelle Obama story:
Why are you people hating on Michelle, I mean she has only put herself thru an Ivy League college,
...and now a bunch of rednecks are going to criticize her?
Go shoot your beer cans behind your shed boys, and leave the leadership to smart people.
This is a big endorsement? Seriously - she was not considering McCain or Nader - she had to pick someone in the democratic party. This is a non-story.
Aw! Hillary makes me smile!!! I don't understand the angry Clinton supporters. She's a great lady and she's big enough to get over the pettiness of the campaign trail.
IF THE DEMS CAN'T WIN THIS ELECTION THEN THE COUNTRY IS DEFINATELY MOVING BACKWORDS. DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE MEDIA. PAY ATTENTION TO POLICIES. THE INTERNET DON'T LIE. TV LIES
McCain continues to lynch Obama in major polls and it gets no press!
Rasmussen McCain 51, Obama 36 McCain +15.0
For those of you new to posting:
Please disregard some of the abusive language in here. For some reason, the moderators continue to allow the same core group of posters in here who are trying to divide the Democratic party get away with hateful comments on directed at both Obama and Clinton supporters.
If you're smart, you'll be able to tell the "fake" posters from the real ones. Don't be fooled!