(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.
So I guess Hillary herself is Judas now.
Big bunch of losers!!! All of you Nobamanationists! You will see!
Clinton/McCain from 4:59.
Republican in disguise. YOU'RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE.
Obama/Kathleen Sebelius '08
LETS GET OUR TROOPS HOME.
LETS GET OUR ECONOMY GOING.
THIS TIME WE WANT HEALTH CARE INSURANCE.
This Ind. is voting for someone other than Obama
-and when McCain wins-then the Dems will really have a say-because McCain's hands will be hog tied!-Both the house and senate are going Dem in Nov.
Obama needs to make Hillary his Vice President if he wants the total support of American Democrats and to win the Presidency. Hillary supporters hold a grudge due to the dirty way Hillary was treated and Obama knew of this prior. If he choses Hill as VP this will send a very strong message to ALL American Democrats of unity, healing, and good moral character that Obama stands for. Now prove it.
If Obama doesn't select her as VP . . I'm sorry Hillary but he doesn't have my vote. However, you are doing what any good politician would do and that is support your party's candidate. I'm not a politician and not a party die-hard and I would suspect there are many of us out here.
The Democratic Party is no longer for intellegent rational people since Obama took over. Sure is a shame she has to support him to pay off her campaign debt. She is a moderate Democrat. He is a very radical socialist.
I am very proud of Hillary. She is keeping her word.
Even though I have supported Barack since January, I hope that Hillary keeps her head up and stays active. She has a lot to offer this country and she may become a great president in the near future.
There is no way in hell that you can support Hillary and vote for McCain, at least not if you were a Democrat. Why vote for someone who is against everything Hillary has fought for?????
Must be hard to swallow your pride and grovel at the foot of the African Idol.
Wonder how much Kool aide they had to give her.
America has awaken and the African Idol has lost it's luster.
Thank you Hillary for exposing this Charlatan.
Good work, Hill.
Democrats that are voting McBush I hope you all don't be back in here blogging and complaining about gas, the war, jobs and food prices if McSame get in there....
Bender and FactCheck....you said it all!
Clinton/McCain, you couldn't have posted a more ignorant message if you tried..by stating what you so eloquently stated, you clearly show that you have very little regard for policy and/or what direction this country moves in in the near future..whatever personal aversion you have toward obama/democrats, get over it because his policies r almost identical with those of your coveted Hillary..What does voting for Mccain solve? simply immature and illogical..ridiculous, think before you write..
Thank you Senator Clinton for your committment to making sure a Democrat is in the White House in Jan of 09. This country cannot withstand another four years of Republicans "in charge". Though I have been an Obama supporter from day one, I would have whole heartedly campaigned for you if you had been the nominee. We all know what is at stake here, and I'm glad that you are standing here with us.
Do not vote for McCain, write in Hillary. Make the statement that she is the choice of the people not the candidate thrust on us by the DNC, MSM, or any of the other powerbrokers ie Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid etc.
but but if Hillary 08 = Obama 08 then how is PUMA supposed to logically make sense of voting for mccain...especially when she continually backs obama while saying McCain represents NOTHING that she does....o thats right...it must be some "conspiracy."
Now watch her lie about all the honest things she criticized Obama on.
And the sheep will follow.....
"a liar, arrogant clown, non-expierienced candidate"
Puff, we all know you mean "black". Just say it – it's easier to type – only five letters.
No amount of begging, cajoling, pandering Obmama or his surrogates do, The Latino Community, with the exception of the Puerto Ricans, will not vote for Obama in the general election.
McCain has our votes for 3 good reasons, Patriotism, Patriotism, Patriotism.. Semper Fi.
to all Hispanos that have sons and daughters in uniform and who have served our country honorably. Do your duty, save our country, vote McCain.
Ha, ha, ha – hysterical, Hillary, after all the rotten things you said and did during the campaign.
This woman makes me sick. How people can follow her is beyond me.
Now she has the balls to ask US to pay off her campaign debt? We can't afford gas, rent, or food but she was us to pay off a debt for the mis-managed campaign of a multi-millionaire.
God, she's a disgusting excuse for a human being.
C'MON DEMS UNITE!!!!