March 24th, 2008
04:47 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton stresses party unity in Pennsylvania

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Clinton said Democrats will need to unite against John McCain."]

BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Over the weekend, Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe accused Hillary Clinton of having a “character gap.” Clinton spokesman Phil Singer returned fire, saying today that Obama’s campaign is perpetrating an "insidious pattern of personal attacks."

Any Democrat listening the harsh language emanating from the campaigns would be forgiven for thinking it might be tough to unify the party this fall.

Clinton was asked by a voter here Monday about the increasingly contentious race, and whether Democrats can manage to come together in the general election. Clinton re-emphasized that Democrats must unite after the primary battle.

"I think we will have a unified Democratic party once we have a nominee, we will go into fall election very committed to taking back the White House," she said. "None of the things I talk about will happen if Sen. McCain is elected."

She praised McCain and their work in Senate together, but added, "As he himself has said, he doesn’t know much about the economy."

The mostly female audience laughed as she ribbed McCain over his economic credentials, but she was serious as she urged Democrats to put aside their differences to defeat the presumptive GOP nominee.

"I think that people that who would have voted for either me or Sen. Obama are going to ask themselves, 'Wait a minute, there are really big differences between the Democrats and the Republicans.' And let’s have a unified party and elect a Democratic president."

UPDATE: Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz issued this response to Clinton's charges against McCain: "Sen. Clinton’s plans to increase taxes and implement massive government spending would only hurt hardworking families and small businesses. Her political attacks against Sen. McCain won’t distract voters from her backward-looking and failed policy stances."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pennsylvania
soundoff (397 Responses)
  1. James

    Funny. The Clinton campaign, they meet up and decide on a topic.
    They can hit, but Obama, we dare you to hit back. Remember you are hope and change. Stand nice and we will kick your butt otherwise you would be a flip flopper.

    March 24, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Isaac

    This comments just prove my point. Hillary is, in all actuality, the ONLY candidate that is stressing party unity once the nominee is decided. Barack has not uttered words this strong, he has only torn down his opponent over and over again. It is mind-boggling to me that people are not noticing who the actual uniter is here!

    March 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Mike in Houston

    Reading about Hillary in Bosnia, I think we need a comander in chief who knows the difference between the sound of a bullet and the sound of a photographers camera.

    Hillary, go home (wherever that may be).

    March 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Obama Supporter (also Hillary is ok)

    Thank you Hillary. All democrats, it's time we unite. Whoever the nominee is, we have to support them in the general election against Sen. John McCain. I truly have a lot of respect for all three candidates, but i honestly think only Obama can make a good shift to the American economy from what we are experiencing in the current administration. I hope, we as Americans will come united & vote for Obama or Hillary in the general election. I personally want Obama to be the nominee since he has won more states & has won more than a million votes than Hillary. However, whoever is the nominee, we need a change in the white house. We need a democratic party in the white house. Come on everybody, lets be united, lets be the united states of America. We need change in America for the prosperity of our nation. Se. McCain wants to continue to the war in Iraq. We don't need to continue the war in Iraq which has killed 4000 american troops, 1 million Iraqi civilians & costed us almost a trillion dollar. Think about it for yourselves. I have great confidence in my fellow americans. Think for yourselves & make a wise decision.

    March 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. Steve

    Go Hillary. Obama is the divider, he can't even unite his own church. Of course this is coming from a "typical" white person's opinion.

    March 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. 6-pack

    Thank you Hillary, it's about time.

    I hope this means you are ending your rhetoric praising John "Bomb Bomb Iran" McCain.

    I think a good compromise in this nomination battle would be to let Obama be president and let the Clintons move into the Lincoln Bedroom.

    She and Bill could take more of those really
    fun trips she had made when she was first lady.

    And we'll all live happily ever after.

    March 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    With all due respect to Senator Clinton, I don't see how she can claim to care about party unity when she is perpetuating a primary election with no hope of legitimately winning the nomination. No other candidate in this race has encouraged as much divisiveness as Senator Clinton. If she really believes this, she would support Senator Obama and actually help unify the party.

    March 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Dan , TX

    Let's face it, no one really cares about Iraq, the economy, or health care. All we want to do is get excited about the next "shocking" comment by one campaign or the other.

    Democrats need to take a deep breath back away. Obama supporters are very angry, Clinton supporters are very angry. Under these conditions, they are likely to say things they will regret. Understandable. But, handing the presidency to John McCain won't help. If McCain wins, neither Obama nor Clinton will ever be president.

    Note to Obama supporters, try to live up to the example that Obama sets. Note to Clinton supporters, try to live up to the example that Obama sets.

    March 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. LatinoNation

    Mexicans will vote McCain if Hillary loses !! does that matter to you at all ? maybe the republicans will again walk through the doors of the white house with the help of the latino !!

    March 24, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Brian

    Why is it that Clinton claims she can take on the GOP in November, yet at the same time she says that saying she has a "character gap" is part of an insidious pattern of personal attacks?

    Careful, we wouldn't want Hillary to cry again! She is, after all, the "tough" candidate who will "fight" for Democrats in the general election...

    March 24, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Talimee

    A moratorium on foreclosures would maintain (or as houses are bought, increase) the price of real estate. This is a good thing. We need homes to increase in price not continue to decline. People are being left owing more in their houses (mortgages) than what they are worth. So 1 for Hillary, 0 for Obama.

    A mortgage rate freeze would help people stay with their homes instead of going to foreclosure (thus putting those homes in the market). People with adjustable rates are now finding that their monthly payments have gone up by as much as 500 to 1000 dollars a month. The more houses that stay in the hands of the people, the less houses in the market, the less supply and therefore prices will maintain (or increase as houses in market are bought). 2 for Hillary, 0 for Obama.

    Hillary's $30 billion proposal is important. Real estate markets are local in nature, each local government knows best how to deal with the problemt. 3 for Hillary, 0 for Obama.

    Hillary has been talking about this for a very long time (one year at least). She has made it a topic that she repeats in every debate she had. Obama always seems to just nod (as he does with most of her solutions), but doesnt say anything. 4 for Hillary, 0 for Obama.

    She co-sponsored a bill to addres the issue. Back then, real estate prices were high and no one was worried. Her bill didnt go anywhere but she continued talking about it. 5 for Hillary, 0 for Obama.

    Must I go on? Only mistake (if it can be called a mistake) is to mention a commission with Greenspan in it. I am not sure how much Mr. Greenspan has been the cause of this problem, but he did allow it to happen. This is a collective problem.

    March 24, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. lou

    Please do NOT drop from the race, Obama is crashing down fast and his boat is sinking now that people are finding out what he really is about. The man that promissed change is about the same.

    March 24, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. rn_ragan

    We need unity I don't think that Barack Obama is any longer a Nomonee do to the raceist remaks I no longer a'm willing to vote for him as a nomonee. The media still is trying to get us behind Obama ,but it is alittle to late so all the Obama backer that have been writting comment to Cnn If in any way he gets elected he should go to every family in the United State and beg for foregiveness for no leaving his raceist churchthat preeches hatred.

    I would rather have Hillary Clinton or McCain than Obama any day.

    March 24, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Hillary 2008

    I am supporting Hillary for sure...........

    I do not understand those Obama's supporters at all.

    Hillary 08 Go Go GO!

    March 24, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. Back off

    Obama needs to Back off. His compaign is talking about the "Character Gap". He should be ashamed of himself after all this mess with Wright. He has a Character issue here and not Hilary??

    March 24, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Veterans for Obama


    If Hillary manages to get the nomination...which I doubt, please hold your nose and vote for her. In the end we need a DEMOCRAT in the whitehouse. there is way too much at stake. I don't want anymore young americans getting killed, disfigured or mentally fatigued. The nation is in bad shape and the environment is at a critical stage, PLEASE don't be petty about WHO fills the suit in the whitehouse. We need change! If I can't get Obama, I'll settle for second best, Hillary.

    March 24, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. lugina


    March 24, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |

    Richardson's betrayal is really bad because it goes against the process he said he would use to choose his candidate. He said he would make a decision based on results of his state and constituency. This back stab may be a blessing in disguise because it makes the case that a super delegate can choose whoever they personally feel is best qualified. Unity? It will be a struggle to keep half of the democrats enthusiastic about voting no matter what. Clinton people will be just as upset as Obama people if it does not go the way we want it, especially if Florida and Michigan are disenfranchised.

    March 24, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. John

    I do agree with Senator Clinton that there are huge differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. Just look at the events over the past few days....Reverend Wright, "two people that love their country". McCarthyism, Bosnia 1996 sniper fire-oops, blue dress, immigration bill-I want to thank myself, bailout the dumb subprime borrowers and the banks/investors....Wow, and these are the same folks that have the gall to attack the Republicans? Wake up America!

    March 24, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Aliou

    Hillary, just get out of the race. I still have some respect for you, but it would last long if you stay too long.

    March 24, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. David in Shawnee

    And her attacks on Obama promote unity exactly how? Whoever wins, we will go into the fall with 5-10% of our potential base either staying home or voting for McCain out of spite. Is she really running on the 10% chance of the nomination in 2008, or to make sure she has a clear field in 2012?

    March 24, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Becky Montgomery

    You know, I was going to list all the lies and underhanded things the Clintons have done, but I am too tired.

    I will throw this out: Google Peter Paul v. Clinton

    March 24, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Patricia

    hey Elsa... what if Edwards backs him too? Will that make him a back stabber too?

    March 24, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Floridian

    Hey – thanks for the vote of support Hillary – I'm a little surprised by the magnanimous gesture.

    Never fear, however, we look forward to you and your supporters coming together behind Barack just as soon as you get back on your meds and figure out that you can't win/steal/claw away the nomination.

    March 24, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Yves larochelle

    I think that the best Bill and Hillary could have done for the sake of preserving the Democratic Party is for Hillary NOT to compete at all. More Americans hear about Bill and his impeachment process (which is NOT an invention of the Obama campaign) BETTER it is for the Democrats.
    I other words Bill is NOT a good and honorable reference. The bLue dress is a true thing. Obama didn't invent it.
    Bill might be bright, but both he and his wife are Machiavellian and manipulative.
    I don't like the word games of Bill first around race and now about patriotism. Shame on him! Hillary is not better. She is arrogant: I saw her claiming the top of a potential ticket with Obama.

    March 24, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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