by Max Brantley
The Hillary Clinton campaign closing speech at 11 a.m. today will be streamed live on her website.
And speaking of Clinton v. Obama: Gov. Mike Beebe was asked about the contest on his radio show yesterday. He continued to state his preference for Clinton, spokesman Matt DeCample explaining later that Clinton had not yet officially left the race. Beebe candidly noted some reservations among the electorate about Obama, who participated in a campaign rally (pictured) for Beebe in 2006.
Beebe told listeners Friday he had spoken that morning to a friend who was "very upset" about the possibility of Obama becoming president.
"What he was talking about was (Obama's) minister and some of his supporters," Beebe told the caller. "There is a deep-seated fear, I think, and I think you're probably aware of it or have expressed it, about some of the things that have been reported."
UPDATE: Hillary's speech started 45 minutes late and was delayed further by a huge welcome from a big crowd at the National Building Museum in Washington.
"This isn't the party I planned, but I sure like the company," said Sen. Clinton to open.
She urged the crowd to do everything it could do to elect Barack Obama the next president. The crowd cheered.
She said she had "suspended" her campaign, but said, "I endorse him and throw my full support behind him." She urged her supporters to work as hard for Obama as they had for her. She lauded his work as a senator. She said he had inspired people as a candidate.
She said electing Obama would put the country back on the path to peace and prosperity. She said it was time for the Democratic Party to come together. "Today our paths have merged and we're all heading for the same destination."
She praised Bill Clinton's time in Washington and bemoaned the lost opportunities of the last seven years. "Imagine what we could have achieved if we'd just had a Democrat in the White House?" (Imagine what we could have achieved if we'd just had anybody else on earth in the White House?)
"Today I am standing with Senator Barack Obama to say 'Yes, we can.'"
She said she and Obama had both made history, by proving that a woman or an African-American could be president. She said biases against women remain, however. It should become unremarkable to think of a woman as a candidate for president. She said her supporters had put "about 18 million cracks" in that "highest, hardest glass ceiling."
Let the commentators' flyspecking begin.
POST-SPEECH UPDATE: Rave reviews, sounds like, just about every place I checked, including some of her harshest critics. The commentators now see what they refused to see for weeks: It IS possible for the Democrats to unify following a bruising campaign. They can thank a classy woman for that.