Clinton and Obama to campaign together

June 20, 2008 3:08:27 PM PDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama announced on Friday that he will campaign with former rival Senator Hillary Clinton next week. The move is a huge step toward unifying a fractured Democratic Party after a bruising primary fight.Hillary Clinton got 18 million votes in the Democratic primary, almost as many as Barack Obama, and many of her supporters are having a hard time warming up to Obama. But both candidates are about to hit the campaign trail together. The announcement is very reassuring to a group of democratic governors who met with Obama in Chicago on Friday.

Some Democratic governors have supported Barack Obama all along while others have backed different candidates in a bruising primary season. But all Democrats desperately want to win back the White House and are applauding Friday's announcement that Hillary Clinton, who came in a close second for the nomination and is still under consideration for vice president, will be joining Obama on the campaign trail for the first time a week from Friday.

"She has a great opportunity to make sure that her supporters are brought over. He's got a good opportunity to make sure that whatever challenges existed from the primary are put to bed," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) of Michigan.

"With the state of the economy in turmoil and millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, you deserve and need a partner in the White House," said Sen. Obama.

Many of the 16 Democratic governors at Friday's meeting on what states need from the federal government that they haven't gotten from the Bush administration are also auditioning for the vice presidential spot. But one of the early favorites has taken himself off the short list.

"I intend to remain Ohio's governor throughout the remainder of my term," said Gov. Ted Strickland (D) of Ohio.

Governor Rod Blagojevich raised a few eyebrows by skipping the meeting to survey flood relief efforts in downstate Illinois where, unlike his Bush-bashing colleagues in Chicago, he had kind words for the administration's disaster assistance.

"When we asked the Bush administration for federal disaster help, they helped," said Gov. Blagojevich.

Back in Chicago, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party said that voters angry at Blaggojevich and the other Democrats for the ongoing corruption and budget battles in Springfield should remember Barack Obama spent eight years there.

"If he wants to change Washington, here he sits in the highest tax city in the country, highest tax county, most ethical problems of any state. He has to answer the question, what role did he have in that," said Illinois GOP Chairman Andy McKenna.

Illinois Republicans point out that Obama and Blagojevich are both connected to convicted political fixer Tony Rezko. And Obama's part of an Illinois Democratic party that can't agree on much of anything except the need for gigantic tax increases. That might explain why Obama left Friday's event without taking any questions from reporters in Chicago who've known Obama much longer than the national media.

The bottom line on Friday's meeting was that Obama promised to pump several hundred billion dollars into the states to help governors deal with their problems if he is elected.


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