(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.
SPEAK ON SISTER!
"McCain continues to lynch Obama in major polls and it gets no press!
Rasmussen McCain 51, Obama 36 McCain +15.0"
Um..no. In Tennessee maybe.
All democrats should applaud Hillary for this. Those who are still slinging mud at her are doing no service to anyone. And there are many Clinton supporters voting for Obama now, so everytime I read vitriol about Hillary supporters it just annoys me.
I agree with you totally. It is all a game.
The Obama-haters can't stand to see stuff like this, because they don't want to acknowledge that their hatred for him is not valid and is not based on anything besides the mush between their ears.
what is wrong whit all of you? hillary won big .blame the dam delegates,
Looks like a lot of Hillary supporters will turn to McCain.
While the national media is still salivating over Obama, they are sending more and more votes toward McCain.
It's too late now to turn this around.
Hopefully McCain will pick a moderate as his VP.
O.K guys, tell the Dems let's do this...LOL!!!
Obama is a joke.
well, at least she was woman enough to stand up and attempt to close the bitter battle between the campaigns, what about hilliary's spouse, Mr. Bill? He is still angry.
I don't understand how is it that some Hillary supporters are saying that they're going to vote for McCain. I mean... are they paying attention. Why did you vote for Hillary in the first place, she and Barack are on the same side, remember? Why would you vote for someone who is the total opposite of everything that Hillary stands for? What are you thinking??!!!
Its a shame HRC supporters cant see the big picture!
HELLO YOUR FORMER CANDIDATE IS VOTING FOR OBAMA!
The camera will be there covering Hillary/Bill and Chelsea pulling that lever for Obama because bottom line dispite what was said and done in th primaries HRC knows we need a Democrat in the white house (im sure she wanted to be that democrat)
No she should not be made VP – this 'sense of entitlement' got to go!!
Her supporters who are on here trash and threat talkin needs to GET OVER IT!!
those sowing seeds of discord between obama and hillary supporters are called republicans don,t believe what them. the disguise as obama or hillary supporters and spew venom. be wise people
Try to undo what ever damage you caused during primary.
but we cannot have you as VP.
Here we go Clinton here we go...
Obama as President is a truly nauseating thought. McCain is it, then.
I hold only 1 vote. It's small token. I can vote for Clinton. But if I ,somehow, have 5 votes to spare, I will cast 4 for McCain for President and 1 for Obama for his Senate Reelection.
This is what Hillary needs to do. A lot of us who were Obama supporters really saw the dark side of the Clintons this primary season. But this is the charismatic side of Hillary that was missing during the primary. Her gracious words will hopefully heal some of the wounds she created during the primary. And if she can continue, I might even be willing to root for her to be offered to join the ticket. I never thought I'd say that after the primary...but it looks like she might be able to be a team player, afterall. And Bill Clinton's stubborn silence is actually welcomed right now, from my point of view. If he can shut up and stay out of the lime light, this Obama-Clinton ticket may just work out.
Once again proving that Hillary is more intelligent and mature than many of her supporters are.
Thanks Hillary! Keep up the good work!
A viote for McCain is a vote that sends a message to the DNC, that if you want to select our Democratic candidate, then we aren't going to vote for a Democrat..
The DNC played us for fools all along knowing they were picking Obama and totally dis-regard our votes..
you say we are wasting our votes for McCain..well then no different than the DNC and democratic party leaders wasting our time and vote and hard work we put in for Hillary..
Cameron June 26th, 2008 5:21 pm ET
I hardly ever comment on these ridiculous articles but seriously, if you don't like Hillary then what is the point of wasting your time typing arguments about her? Those of us that actually like her aren't going to be turned away because of your comments. You are wasting your own time and space for those of us who want to say something positive. Grow Up!
Just as long as it's understood that this cuts both ways. I'm not saying you're one of them, Cameron, but the Obama-haters and PUMA freaks around here also aren't convincing anyone with their blind hatred. Those who like Obama are not turned away by them either.
I also wish haters and six-year-olds on all sides would disappear and leave this board for positive and intelligent comments. I can be swayed by logical and reasonable comments, even if they goes against the candidate I support. I would appreciate an intelligent discussion with participation from everyone who isn't deliberately uninformed, and turning everyone off with their bitterness, hatefulness, and naivete.
All you people who claim that Obama is a radical left wing socialist... can any of you actually put some facts in your posts that would back that statement up?
Hillary looks happy. This is a good thing.
Gee do you think this has anything to do with the fact that Obama is helping her pay off her campaign debt. It does make me wonder what kind of a president should would have been. She certainly couldn't manage her campaign money. How much worse would she have been at managing the government's money. Thank God she didn't get the nomination. I hope she and Bill will just go away.