[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/26/art.hillary.jpg caption="Clinton takes the stage tonight, vowing to unite Democrats."]
I often teach young campaign managers what I view as "The Laws of Politics."
One of them is "The Law of the Ketchup Stain" - When your candidate walks into the room with a stain on his or her shirt, no one is going to listen to a word they say until it is acknowledged.
Everyone knows Hillary Clinton is going to support Barack Obama, that's not the stain on her shirt. Rather, the "ketchup stain" is that she has said Obama is inexperienced and unprepared to be president. She's got to acknowledge what every Democrat has heard her say.
How does she do it? She must say, "I know you've heard me say things in the competitive heat of battle that may cause some of you to have doubts about my support for Obama. I know that and you know that. Let me put those doubts to rest. I'm not only going to do everything I can do to elect Obama, I am going to ask you to help me, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your energy. If you believe in Hillary Clinton, believe in Obama, support him. Elect him president."
Will she do it? The Clintons have never been very good at acknowledging their failings. Unless she does, however, her support of Obama will be seen by many Democrats as a choice between the lesser of two evils - the appearance that she supports Obama only because he is not as bad John McCain.