Chicagoans at the Clinton-Obama D.C. unity meeting. Speech excerpts.

SHARE Chicagoans at the Clinton-Obama D.C. unity meeting. Speech excerpts.

WASHINGTON–In a spirit of Democratic unity, a cadre of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most steadfast supporters–and fund-raisers-flew to Washington to hear from presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama make an appeal to them Thursday night.

Among those from the Chicago area present:

Bill Brandt, Lynn Cutler, J.B. Pritzker, Betsy Ebeling, Val Alexander, Tim Wright and Rashid Chaudary.

Speech excerpts, color, from the pool report……

The M.C. for the night was Terry McAuliffe. As Clinton walked on stage,

followed by Obama, Clintons money man pointed out that the group had

collectively raised $230 million for Clintons campaign. Congratulating

Obama, McAuliffe rallied the troops one last time, This, folks, was a

magnificent raceThis party is on fire.

Turning back to Clinton, McAuliffe said she has great future, no matter

what she does. If she wants to become pope, it doesnt matter.

Obama and McAuliffe embraced and joked as Clinton moved up to the podium.

She started by knocking down the pope idea: First, Id have to become

Catholic, and second, we dont want to go there.

Clinton profusely thanked her supporters for what you each have done over

so many years. I look out and I see faces of people who have been friends

and colleagues and warriors at arms on so many different occasions.

She lamented that the party had only won three of the last 10 elections.

That is a sobering thought, she said, adapting her electability argument

from the primary campaign. For me this is intensely personal, because I

want to see our country once again not just solving problems, which sounds

very pragmatic, but lifting up our sights and finding the promise of our

country by once again producing the progress that is truly the American

birthright. It has slipped away from us.

She recalled her many months on the campaign trail the countless people

she had met, and all of their struggles. Obama stood next to her, looking

on as Clinton spoke. We have to make it a priority in our lives to elect

Barack Obama the next president of the United States, Clinton said, to

sustained applause.

This was a hard-fought campaign, she continued. Thats what made it so

exciting and intense and why peoples passions ran so high on both sides. I

know my supporters have extremely strong feelings, and I know Baracks do

as well. But we are a family, and we have an opportunity now to really

demonstrate clearly we do know whats at stake, and we will do whatever it

takes to win back this White House.

Here here! a man shouted, to more robust applause.

Clinton acknowledged Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee and Stephanie Tubbs Jones,

two of her most prominent and devoted African American supporters. Someone

pointed out that Rep. Anthony Weiner was in the room as well.

And then she wrapped up with this: Let me, to my friends, and you are all

my friends, I am just so intensely grateful to each and every one of you.

We have a lot of work to do, going forward, not only the election, but once

the election is over, to making sure we ralize all the benfits that this

election can and should bring to our country. So let me introduce my friend

Sen. Barack Obama to my friends, all of these wonderful people who have met

so much to me in my life.

Next it was Obamas turn, and he told two stories about his family to

illustrate the extraordinary nature of (Clintons) public service, and

extraordinary nature of her campaign.

One was the familiar tale of Obamas maternal grandmother, who worked on a

bomber assembly line during World War II, but who never went to college

because she didnt qualify for the G.I. bill — yet rose from bank

secretary to bank vice president.

He talked to her frequently during the primary season, and obviously she

was rooting for her grandson, Obama said. But she also complained that

Clinton wasnt getting a fair shake. When I see that instinct of hers to

fight on behalf of those who need a champion, she reminds me a little of

me, Obamas grandmother told him. He said the story illustrated the

ability of Hillary Clinton to inspire passion on behalf of those who have

been left out in the past.

Then he told of being surprised that his 9-year-old daughter Malia had been

well aware of the historic nature of the Clinton-Obama duel. Her father,

she knew, could be the first African American president. But she also

observed that Clinton could be the first woman. Then she said, its about

time, and rolled over and went to bed, Obama said.

As the laughter died down, he continued, between my grandmothers

generation and my young daughter, theres a testimony to the challenges

that are hard won and hard fought. To the point that my 9-year-old takes

for granted that of course we can have a woman president. Of course we can

have an African-American president. But that doesnt come just by the

passage of time. It comes because people are consistently working and


Like Clinton, he recalled the many struggling people he has met on the

campaign trail. He said of his former rival, It was an extraordinary honor

to be alongside her during the course of this campaign. It was an

extraordinary test. Her recognized her tenacity, her fighting spirit. I

am a better candidate as a consequence of having run against Sen. Hillary

Rodham Clinton.

Obama continued, I recognize that this room shared the same passion that a

roomful of my supporters would show. I do not expect that passion to be

transferred. Sen. Cinton is unique, and your relationships with her are

unique. But he added, Sen. Clinton and I at our core agree deeply that

this country needs to change.

Finally, at the end of his remarks, Obama made a direct appeal for support.

Im going to need Hillary by my side campaigning during his election, and

Im going to need all of you. He recounted how he had told his top

fundraisers this week to get out their checkbooks and start working to

make sure Sen. Clinton — the debt thats out there needs to be taken care


And that, folks, was the nights big applause line. In vowing to help pay

off Clintons debt, Obama won a standing ovation.

Attendees included, in no particular order (and please check spellings I

wrote down name tags): Vernon and Ann Jordan, Terry McAuliffe, Rep.

Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, former Clinton social secretary Ann Stock, Aidan

Connolly, former DNC national finance chair Maureen White, Texas state Sen.

Rodney Ellis, Bruce Lee, former Clinton lawyer Lanny Breuer, Cincinnati

trial lawyer Stan Chesley, Patrick McGovern, Philip Schaeffer, Harrrisburg,

Pa.lobbyist Bill Titelman, Washington lobbyist Alfred Mottur, Kathy and

Harvey Sloane (shes the big-time NY real estate broker; hes the former

Lousiville Ky mayor): Clinton LGBT supporter Jeffrey Marburg-Goodman,

Georgetown Law professor Heidi Li Feldman, Maurice Kirkland, Clinton/Gore

fundraiser and lobbyist Richard Sullivan, Angela Lancaster, Nancy Bekavak,

Chuck Muckenfuss, Yael Belkind, Sharon Yang, Sue Esserman, Andy Marks, Rep.

Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rhoda Glickman, Blaze Wharton, Larry Schneider, Dennis

Cheng, Brendan Martin, Jay Snyder, Jonathan Aronchick, Sen. Ted Deutch,

Emily Acten, Makinder Talk, Katie Dowd, Adam Goers, Steve White, Amb. Tim

Chorba, Judy Harris, Yasher Hedeyat, Michael Steed, lobbyist Tony Podesta,

Clinton friend Beth Dozeretz, Natalie Jones, Donald Dunn, Brendan Martin,

9-11 Commission member and former deputy atty general Jamie Gorelick,

Debbie Branson, former Clinton Transportation Secretary Ro

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