Hillary the Fighter versus Hillary the Uniter?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As Barack Obama gains momentum in his battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination, there are signs that the scrappy New York senator’s inner fighter may be giving way to the uniter who will knit the fractured party back together once the bruising nomination process ends.
But parsing her recent campaign speeches from West Virginia and South Dakota to Oregon and Kentucky, Clinton does not appear ready to give up the fight just yet.
At a speech late on Friday here, Clinton appeared initially to aim for a conciliatory tone toward Obama, only mentioning her challenger to draw comparisons between women and blacks — two groups that she said had suffered greatly under the original U.S. Constitution written by America’s founders.
“Neither Senator Obama nor I nor many of you were fully included in the vision of our founders,” Clinton said.
“We’re here for one reason – to make sure the next president is a Democrat,” Clinton told the dinner held by the Kentucky Democratic Party. “Once we have a nominee I know in my heart we will come together as a party.”
But later in the speech she used very specific pronouns: calling for “a Democratic president who will roll up her sleeves and get to work for all of you.”
A day earlier in Charleston, West Virginia, Clinton had dismissed calls for her to drop out of the race as “déjà vu all over again,” and recalled similar entreaties before she won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.
“There are people who said we need to end this before we get to West Virginia. Well, I don’t think so,” Clinton said. “I was never supposed to win Indiana.”
Clinton has vowed to continue running until the voting concludes on June 3, but she and campaign aides have hinted she would step aside if it is clear that Obama will be the nominee.
So which is it? Hillary the Fighter or Hillary the Uniter? Time will tell.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Chris Baltimore (A Clinton supporter holds up boxing gloves at fundraiser in New York City.)