DENVER — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday morning tried to dismiss any lingering doubt she doesn’t fully support Barack Obama’s Democratic presidential nomination, urging the delegates she won during her tough and occasionally contentious primary to back the Illinois senator.
“We are gathered here in Denver for a very clear and simple purpose, and that is to come out of the (Democratic) convention energized and united and ready to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States,” Mrs. Clinton said at the New York state Democratic delegation breakfast.
“I want to ask each and every one of you to work hard for Barack Obama and [vice presidential nominee] Joe Biden.”
Mrs. Clinton said she will meet with her delegates on Wednesday and formally tell them she is voting for Mr. Obama and ask any delegates who still support her to instead back Mr. Obama.
“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is Barack Obama’s convention, as it should be, and there is no doubt that what we’re doing is trying to bring everybody together at the same level of commitment,” said Mrs. Clinton told a gathering of reporters later in the morning.
Recent polls show as many as half of Mrs. Clinton’s voters aren’t sure who they will vote for in November’s presidential election a sentiment also shared by some Clinton delegates.
Mrs. Clinton said she understand her supporters’ frustrations, and realizes some of her delegates won’t heed her request to support Mr. Obama. She added that she “doesn’t know” what to do to convince those in her delegation who refuse to support Mr. Obama. “I’m doing everything I can possibly do.”
But Mrs. Clinton said that as the general election season winds along, most of her ardent supporters eventually will come around and support Mr. Obama.
“This was a hard fought campaign, and there was a lot of intensity and passion associated with it in part because of the historic nature of our two candidates,” she said.
She also discounted the polls that show Mr. McCain closing in on Mr. Obama’s lead.
“People who vote in elections make up their minds all kinds of ways,” she said. “There’s no set pattern.”
The campaign of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, seeing an opportunity to grab disgruntled Clinton supporters, on Sunday began running a television advertisement quoting the former first lady criticisms of Mr. Obama during the primary campaign.
But Mrs. Clinton said the country “couldn’t afford four more years of a failed (Republican) policies” if McCain is elected.
“Anyone who voted for me should know that I have so much more in common with Sen. Obama than Sen. McCain and the Republican Party,” she said.