(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 like how everyone here believes that Obama has all the answers. Truth is, he and McCain are both struggling very hard on the issue of economics right now. NEITHER has a plan that will do any long term damage to what is going on. Obama talks about windfall taxes on oil companies. Sorry to everyone out there that thinks this is genius, this was tried before and it failed miseralby, driving our economy even lower. So this talk about change?? Yea, lots of change there, been done already so not a whole lot of change there. Then again, McCain's idea is not that great either it has been said in the papers that that has no real long term effect either. BOTH candidates are looking for your votes. yes, I am a conservative, but that does not make me republican. I am looking for the candidate best suited to run our country. We need a quick fix right now to help us in the short term followed by a plan that will fix the long term as well. The quick fix being a crutch till the long term kicks in. I have yet to see REAL change from either candidate.
THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO HILLARY, BARACK WOULD DO THE SAME THING FOR YOU!
California Voter: So you are not a die hard politician and if Obama dont make Hillary his VP then he lost your vote... Movin right along!!!
Sounds like you are a Die Hard Hillary groupie who can't see the issues facing our country today!
You must enjoy paying now close to $5 a gallon for gas!
Stupid is as Stupid does! and you are right Im sure there are MANY of you out there! LOL!
Hiilary is the best! I am another voter who will only consider voting for Senator Obama if Senator Clinton is the VP. This decision would show that Senator Obama has sound judgment.
Hey all u hilliary or mccain people, y dont u send a dollar each so she can get out of debt? How would she be a better candidate when she ran a bad primary race... 22 million dollars in debt? And that after she knew it was not possible to win? ha ha and u talk about Obama's judgement!
ESPECIALLY TO THE WOMAN. Any of Sen Clintons supporters that vote for McCaine really didn't care about her in the first place it would be a SLAP in her face and any woman that votes for that disrespectful cheating old man really needs some medication I would never vote for a man that has NO respect for his wife or woman for that matter and for ANY woman that would vote for him I believe you think very little of yourself. Don't ever put anyone else before you put yourself.
If this gumby has any hope it will be with candidates like Hillary.
If Bill will stay in the shadows–her efforts may work.
Sadly, either way we're screwed. Both Obama and McCain promise to do nothing more than continue the decades of government waste, fraud, corruption, and empowerment of their on ideologies.
it's time we had a President who really put ALL Americans first–not just the poor, the rich, the oil producers, or women, hispanics, blacks, etc, etc, etc,...
Got liberty? Think again. visit the Libertarian Party–find out how to make real change in 2008.
Gracias, Senator Clinton!
Voting for John McCain because Hillary Clinton did not win the nomination is not very mature. She is backing Barack Obama herself as she said she would.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had many similarities in their campaigns. Why would a true Democrat vote for a Republican and doom our country to four more years of Bush Politics?
Please–let's try to get along for the good of our country!
I'm Latino and I have 3 family members that are nurses. I'm glad Sen. Clinton is talking about all of the issues that nurses have to deal with every day. I hope she keeps talking about this.
And I hope Sen. Obama does too.
i voted for Clinton and still would but i guess i will be voting for McCain now. I might vote for Obama if Clinton is with him but it will not be for him it will be for her.
Obama speaks of change but does not go into details of what changes he will make.
Thank you, Hillary. The party uniter she is. And to the ugly comments in here just remember, the more you judge and discrimate and begrudge, the more alienated you will be in this society. Behavior and comments like that are becoming more and more inexceptible. The two democratic campaigns have shined the light on this type of racism against people who were born female or black or both or whatever. It's time this country did a little spring cleaning and this independent voter is ready.
Not one sick, nasty comment is based on the ISSUES at hand.
Together we can!
Can she get back to New York State please and start working there???
...And after Obama pays off her $30 million debt, what is to stop her from backstabbing him by starting up her campaign again and running as an independent?
She never ENDED her campaign, only suspended it. Don't be suckers!
Support hillary. Contribute $1.00. Target is $18m.
All those who take the time to read these and other comments after political articles must know that the nasty, caustic remarks are nothing more than Republicans trying to sow descent within the Democratic party. Some are obvious by the inarticulate syntax and third grade spelling. Some are not so obvious because they actually graduated grammar school and are smart enough to get spell check and grammar check for their computers. The true Democrat or Independent is the one who says that they would rather have Hillary but they know they must support Obama or continue down the Bush road to ruin with McCain. So don't pay any attention to the saboteurs, just thank Hillary for trying her best to win and for recognizing that it is Obama or more war, recession and scandal with McCain. The choice is rather obvious. :)
I know it's hard Hillary, but it's the right thing to do for the Democratic Party.
To Hillary supporters, don't hate because Obama studied the election rules and trends. He followed the rules and ran a better campaign. Period.
If you vote for McCain out of 'pisstivity', then you are not voting on the issues. Don't get it twisted. If you are voting on the issues, you will not align yourself with McCain.
It doesn't take a degree in PolySci to figure this out.
As a register voter I will not vote for Obama even if HRC campaigns for him vigourously! Ever!
Hillary will be missed – great fighter. I have supported Barack before his Iowa win. I have nothing but respect for Hillary Clinton – if Barack wasn't on the ticket I would have voted for Hillary.
However, it is obvious on this blog who the real Hillary supporters are and who are not. People who believed in Hillary believed in her strength and experience, and, well, just liked her. Ofcourse the back bone of all of this was her policies. So for those who supported Hillary, but will not support Obama, are fakers.
For all of you that say that you will vote for McBush, think about this: Gas is now past 4.00 per gallon, all of us have been touched by the wars that are going on. If you want this mess to be cleaned up we must unite as a nation of people. e plauribus unum. If you keep that in mind we can get our country back on track. Sorry HRC supporters if you vote McBush you will be sorry.
To all Hillary's supporters,
If you love your girl as much as you say you do, you better get on her bandwagon. There's some reason that she's done such a 360 about Obama...I'm not quite sure what it is, whether she truly just wants to support O because he's the best candidate, whether she's just hoping he'll lose and she'll go again in 2012, whether it's to get O's supporters to get her campaing out of debt, whether it has something to do with that upcoming trial that could implicate her, or some other reason only beknowst to her.
Thats right Hillary jump on the bandwagon!!! Obama is going to be our next president and the republicans are in denial. Off with Mcbush's head!!!
If she has to get up and campaign for the corrupt Obama, she should be paid a million dollar and hour, prepaid before having to tell anyone what a great (???) guy he is.
The GOP is in such ruin that the only bright spot for Republican bloggers (mostly pedophiles, scam artists and drunken frat boys) is to pretend to be Hillary supporters to get their jollies. Nothing you are doing is working and McCain will go down in spectacular fashion.