(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.
I was hoping she would disappear into the dustbin of history. She's harder to get rid of than a house in Michigan. Please go away.
Jeff D, South Bend, IN:
Its people like you that needs to earn our respect...not Hillary's. Hillary and the rest of her supporters have been bashed by the likes of you for months. That's what so hard to forgive, not so much the fact she lost.
By not bashing her, you might be forgiven. Keep it up – Good luck.
I know Obama will lose if Clinton isnt VP.
Lets see how good his "judgment" is.
Sorry you feel that way, but the fact of the matter is that, if you don't vote for Obama, you're voting to keep the economy struggling, the war in Iraq going, and the cost of gas increasing. Hillary WILL NOT be the candidate in November, and it's getting really irritating to see that there are people like you who just don't understand that. She lost. Get over it. It's people like you who were SHOCKED when the boat sank at the end of Titanic.
Way to go HRC. You can not stop Obama you can only hope to contain him.
Watch out. Obama for PRESIDENT.
I guess all you said about Obama wasn't true. I believed in you Hillary, so thanks for opening my eyes and setting me straight. I have removed the Clinton sign from my yard. My yard is now more beautiful than ever. It appears that dark cloud hevering over it has moved on now that a MaCain sign has replaced it. By the way, "I work for a living, therefore I'm a Republican."
Wishing is on thing, Reality is Obama, voting for Mccain is Stupidity...there are some Dems on the DL showing support for McCain because Hillary was not the choice. I love Hillary and Obama and will never argue over the support she is willing to give Obama. Never will I vote for a Republican even if Obama was not the choice. Back Him Hillary, it's the right thing to do.
Good for Hillary and the party. Nice to see civility returning to the Democratic party. Time to chime in Bill.
Orange County, CA
Sorry Hillary – you have no choice but to endorse him "I guess", but as a voter I do not have to vote for him and I will not under any circumstances. He is an arrogant no nothing snob. How could the democratic party drop you and go for him. I will never understand it. I have not dropped the democratic party. John McCain is not you Hillary, but Obama is a travisity.
Thank you Sen. Clinton.... I want Obama to appoint YOU to the Supreme Court..... You would make a GREAT Justice!!!
If she wants her 22M dollars back she has to behave be nice to obama that is what she is doing she wants her money back.
I hope that Democrats can get back to what we need to do and that Hillary gets the respect of ALL Democrats.
She has worked her "you-know-what" off and will for the Democratic Party too. I hope Obama supporters will show some of that respect. He is going to need people like her to win.
The Hillary supporter is so funny to me. They are really mad and this is so sad. I will continue to pray for you all, that the Lord remove the hate from your heart and replace it with love.
This is very true of america (dark side of many people) which is below average compared to the world presently...who are scared of intelligent people and will do everything to send them to the gutter.....thats what happened to Sentor Clinton.....hope people will realize some day when it is very late.....
Too bad HRC supporters are too bitter to open their eyes.
Thank you Hillary for taking the appropriate steps to unite the party. As an Obama backer, I would have encouraged him to do the same if the tables were turned.
To the PUMAs who will jump in and begin keep quoting Hillary primary statements against Barack. The comparison was among two candidates with similar policies not an absolute.
She states clearly now that Barack is better than McCain by miles even though she believed she was a better candidate. She believed she had more experience even though Barack has 20 total political (including 8 in Illinois state and 3 in US senate) and her statement on him not having experience was a hyperbole typical of campaigns (even a Republican candidate in Oregon is running an ad citing his experience with Obama) so lets get a grip.
And please listen to Hillary your candidate this time as you know she would not push Barack over McCain if she did not believe it was better for the country, her supporters and all of us. Please save us from the past 8 years.
The following posters are known "fake" posters – their sole intention in these blogs (they post in every single one of them) is to cause tension and fights amongst Democrats:
Jan from Boca Raton
There are others....and the above posters change their names often. Just use your heads. Don't take these comments seriously. Vote with your heart this fall.
To Clinton/McCain I agree 100%. The only way I would vote for Obama is if he picked her as his VP. Then I would vote for her. Its not going to happen and I believe she would not want it anyway.
NO WAY should you support this fake clown called OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She is not talking to the PUMA grew. She is talking to her true supporter and telling them the truth. Clinton and McCain has different views of almost all issues. Clinton and Obama agree on most issues. So please stop with I voting for McCain because I love Hillary.
WE NEED HELP TO GET RID OF THE
REPUBLICAN SCOURGE ON THIS NATION,
FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION & AFTER.
"Clinton/McCain June 26th, 2008 4:59 pm ET
Hillary, I understand you are doing this for political reasons only..."
– You are a Republican in disguise. Look, if Hillary doesn't want to do something.. she doesn't. She's a strong woman, she's worth well well over $110 MILLION dollars and if she wanted to retire from politics today... she could.. **snap** like that. She has nothing to loose. She's backing Obama because her beliefs are in line with his, PERIOD.
Don't listen to fools like this one. If you vote for McCain, you are not a true Hilary supporter and you are an insult to her and what she has fought so strongly for. End of story.
Good to see this broad back where she belongs – working for a man. Silly girl actually thought she could be president – lol!
It will be nicer to have Hillary on-board when Obama wins.