In a week that should have seen Democrats celebrate the nomination of the first black man for President of the United States, the story was instead about Hillary Clinton. Obama limped over the line in the race for pledged delegates by winning the number necessary only at the very end when Montana, the VERY last state in the primary calender put him over the top. But rather than celebrate that victory on Tuesday, most people focused on Hillary and the speech she gave which seemed to suggest she would fight on.
It was only on Saturday that she finally threw in the towel; suspended her campaign and endorsed Obama.
In the cavernous Pension Building in Washington, D.C. she pledged her full support to Obama and urged her supporters to do the same. Many in the room signaled through various gestures and boos that reconciliation with Obama would not be so easy. After all, many of her supporters feel that Hillary got more votes than Obama and for Democrats whose mantra used to be "count every vote" some might feel Obama stole the election.
Just look at the results from the last two months of primaries going back to Ohio:
Hillary won 8 out of the last 14 contests with margins of popular vote in those victories that totaled 1,081,254 compared to Obama's 479,572. Furthermore, approximately 20% of her supporters vow they would vote for McCain or stay home before voting for Obama.
In the coming weeks, Obama will begin shoring up the liberal Democrat base and try to convince Hillary supporters that even though he called them "bitter" and said they cling to guns and religion they should give him their vote. Obama is currently slightly ahead of McCain in most national polls. And his staff is expecting to see his lead increase by about 10 points as Hillary supporters come home. If that doesn't happen he's in trouble.
Obama has a formidable organizational, financial advantage over McCain (see Mark Halperin's list of McCain's disadvantages). And we all know that the news media and elite liberals would love to see a black man as president(unless of course if he was a conservative).
So McCain will have to go out there and echo the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. who said that character is more important than the color of one's skin. Can McCain do that? Will McCain do that?