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Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton tie the political knot in Unity

Well, they did it, though it would have been quite the surprise if they hadn't after all the build up. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton shared the stage in Unity, New Hampshire, a few minutes ago and sought to put their often contentious pasts behind them and focus their supporters on the general election. (See video below.)

Given the goal of the day -- unity -- it wasn't a time to break out new policy, and Obama didn't. They essentially made nice, smiled a lot, sang each other's praises and then tried to rally the troops (The Swamp has a take on this, too).

And the coziness of the day began before they even left Washington, reports our colleague Noam Levey, who traveled with them. Obama and Clinton shared a half-embrace on the tarmac at WashingtoBarack_obama_and_hillary_clinton_arn Reagan National airport then boarded the plane that Clinton used in her campaign. They settled in next to each other in the second row on the left side of the plane, Obama taking the window.

The chumminess continued once they arrived at Unity, with Clinton telling the crowd of more than 4,000 people, "Unity is not only a beautiful place, as we can see it's a wonderful feeling isn't it?" Obama joined the audience in applauding the sentiment, "And I know what we start here in this field in Unity will end in the steps of the Capitol when Barack Obama takes the oath of office as our next president."

Later, Clinton addressed the sometimes edgy tone of the campaign, saying  "It was spirited because we both care so much." But we are one party, we are one America,” she said. We "are not going to rest until we take back out country and put it on the path to peace, prosperity and progress."

Then it was Obama's turn (his prepared comments are after the jump). He sang Clinton's praises as a rival, then made a direct play for unity citing her and Bill Clinton's lengthy presence in national politics. "We need them," Obama said.

"We need them badly... That's how we're going to bring about unity in the Democrat Party and how we're going to bring about unity in America."

After making some odd comments about Clinton campaigning in heels -- that won't do much to dispel anger among some of Clinton's female supporters -- Obama talked about the historic nature of both their campaigns. "Hillary and I may have started with separate goals in this campaign, but we have made history together.

"Together, we inspired tens of millions of Americans to participate, some to cast ballot for the very first time, others who voted for the first time in a very long time. And together, in this campaign, in 2008, we shattered barriers that have stood firm since the founding of this nation."

(UPDATE: Susan Pinkus of the L.A. Times Poll provides the following information:: In our latest Times/Bloomberg national poll, two-thirds of Clinton's supporters said they would vote for Obama, 11% said they would vote for John McCain, the Republican nominee, 12% said they were undecided and the rest went to third party candidates.)

--Scott Martelle and Michael Muskal

Photo credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Prepared Obama remarks:

Thank you, Hillary Clinton.  And thank you, Unity, New Hampshire for hosting our little get together today.

I want to start by saying a few words about the woman you just heard from.  For sixteen months, Senator Clinton and I have shared the stage as rivals.  But today, I couldn’t be happier and more honored that we’re sharing it as allies in the effort to bring this country a new and better day.

As someone who has taken the same historic journey as Senator Clinton; who has watched her campaign and debate, I know from firsthand experience how tough she is, and how passionate she is, and how committed she is to the causes that brought us here today.  And I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning -– even in the face of tough odds -– is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children’s Defense Fund and caused her to fight for health care as First Lady; what has made her a fantastic Senator from New York and a historic candidate for the presidency -– an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be.  I’ve admired her as a leader, I’ve learned from her as a candidate, I am proud to call her my friend, and I know how much we’ll need both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton as a party and a country in the months and years to come.

Hillary and I may have started with separate goals in this campaign, but we have made history together.  Together, we inspired tens of millions of Americans to participate, some who cast their ballot for the very first time, others who voted for the first time in a long time. And together, in this campaign, in 2008, we shattered barriers that have stood firm since the founding of this nation.

Now, I don’t pretend that one election can erase all the past biases and outdated attitudes that we’re still wrestling to overcome.  And I know that there have been times over the last sixteen months where those biases have emerged.  But I also know that while this campaign has shown us how far we have to go, it has also proven the progress we have made.  I know that because of our campaign, and because of the campaign waged by Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of yours will forever know that there is no barrier to who and what they can be in the United States of America.

It is fitting that we meet in a place called Unity, because the truth is, that’s the only way we can solve the challenges facing this country.  Today, we look back at the votes cast here in the snows of January not as 107 votes for Hillary Clinton and 107 votes for me, but as 214 votes for change in America – votes cast by young and old, men and women, rich and poor, Democrats and Independents and even a few Republicans.  And that’s why at this moment, we must come together not just as Democrats, but as Americans – united by our understanding that there is no problem we cannot solve; no challenge we cannot meet if we meet it as one nation, as one people.

The decisions we make in this election and in the next few years –- on Iraq, on climate change, on our economy -– will shape the next generation and possibly the next century.  And on each and every issue in this campaign, the choice could not be clearer.  It is a choice between moving forward and falling further behind.  It’s a choice between more of the same policies that have failed us for eight long years or a new direction for the country we love.

We can continue to spend ten billion dollars a month in Iraq and leave our troops there for the next twenty years, or fifty years, or one hundred years; we can follow a policy that doesn’t change whether violence is up or down, whether the Iraqi government takes responsibility for itself or not.

Or we can decide that it is time to begin a gradual, responsible withdrawal from Iraq.  It is time to rebuild our military and take care of our veterans.  It is time to refocus our efforts on the war we must win in Afghanistan, where the leadership of al Qaeda actually exists.

That is the choice in this election.

We can continue to watch the cost of health care push more families and businesses into bankruptcy, and allow the number of uninsured to rise.

Or we can decide that it is time to guarantee coverage to every American who wants it.  It is time to bring down the typical family’s premiums by $2500.  And it is time to bring down costs for the entire country by bringing our health care system into the 21st century through better technology and more emphasis on prevention.

That is the choice in this election.

We can continue to depend on dictators for our energy, and destroy our planet in the process.  We can give billions in tax breaks to oil companies that are making record profits while we give pennies to consumers who are paying over $4 a gallon for gas.

Or we can decide that solving our energy crisis will be the great project of this generation.  We can decide that it is time give Americans immediate relief at the pump with another round of tax rebate checks.  It is time to eliminate those oil company giveaways and invest in clean, renewable energy like wind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels –- investments that can create up to five million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.  It is time to work with our automakers to raise the fuel efficiency in our cars with technology we have today.  It is time to leave our children a planet that is safer and cleaner for generations to come.

That is the choice in this election.

We can watch another generation of our children graduate without the skills they need to compete in a global economy because our schools didn’t prepare them or they couldn’t afford a college education.  Or we can make a commitment to every child, everywhere from the day they are born to the day they graduate college -– that we will invest in early childhood education; that we will recruit an army of new teachers with better pay and more support, and that we will finally make college affordable for every single American who wants to go.

That is the choice in this election.

When it comes to our struggling economy, we can allow the divide between Main Street and Wall Street to grow, or we can ensure that our prosperity is once again the tide that lifts every boat.

We can have a tax code that rewards  wealth and hands out billions more to big corporations and multimillionaires, or we can reward work by giving a $1,000 tax cut to 95% of working families, and by eliminating income taxes for senior citizens who make less than $50,000-a-year

We can keep giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding the companies that create good jobs right here in America.

We can allow millions of Americans to work full-time, but still not make enough to support their families.  Or we can raise the minimum wage, index it for inflation, and ensure that in America, hard work pays.

And we can perpetuate the unfair practice that pays women less than men, or we can honor our values, and the valiant efforts of Senator Clinton., by finally guaranteeing that women who do the same work as men are paid at the same rate.

That is the choice in this election.

No matter where we’ve disagreed, these are the issues that have always united Senator Clinton and myself.  They are the causes that unite as Democrats.  And I believe that at this moment, they are the causes that can unite us as Americans.  Because the choice in this election is not left versus right or liberal versus conservative – it is the past versus the future.  And it is time for us to move toward that future together.

I know it won’t be easy.  I know it won’t happen overnight.  I know that there will be many times where Americans disagree with each other.

But I also know that I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself.  I’ve walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools.  And throughout two decades of service, I’ve worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes.  And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

This is one of those moments.  This is our chance to turn the page on the policies of the past.  This is our chance to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face.  This is our chance; this is our time, to march together in unity, as one people, toward the future that we know is possible.  Thank you Hillary Clinton, thank you Unity, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Comments () | Archives (40)

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Hmm, Obama pays off Hilary's debt... now she supports him... hmm, how ironic. Can you say "bought"?

107, 107 and 214 - Valentines day in Unity?

Now why does that strange coincidence make it sound like the entire Democratic election campaign was a shame and rigged from the start?

They make a strange pair..... and she looks better with Bill .... anyway... which taxpayers (duh... NYS) are paying for this junkett?

So all this whoopla for a unity speech? I hate politics, what a waste of money and media.

Why did you omit Obama's "high heeled" remarks from the speech?

[We didn't omit them. The speech here is his prepared remarks, and the "heels" comments apparently were off the cuff. Will update with the verbatim comments when we can.]

Love you Barack! Thanks for your service to this country. You have already made America a better and more hopeful place to live, and that is even before you take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Bribery and Extortion with a smile.

Hillary wants her money back and Barrack is caving.

good luck- you lost me.

Obama & Clinton "tie the political knot in Unity"? Would you have written that if Hillary was a man?

23/6 has uncovered Obama and Clinton's joint hospitality rider that combines both of their back stage demands into one handy document. Can you tell which demands are Hillary's and which are Barack's?

all you naysayers, you are shaking in your boots as mcfossil will lose in a landslide. all you have is the politics of fear left. your narrow minded and shortsighted ways have done enough damage to this country. please, get out of our way

I watched the Unity event on MSNBC while it was taking place. Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama worked very well together. I do not know if I truly trust Ms. Clinton, but I have to say... they would make a very formidable team. John McCain (McBush or Bush Lite...take your pick) would have an almost unobtainable goal of becoming President against Barack and Hill. They were good together. We must get a Democrat into office. GO OBAMA! YES WE CAN!


Oddly the person with the most most money calls the shots. I'm in the wrong business!

If I was John McCain, my future political commercials would be all sound bites of Hillary Cinton bashing Barack Obama along the campaign trail saying that Obama is underqualified...then at the end of the video/sound clip McCains voice says"I'm John McCain and I endorse this message". Hillary's Barack bashing tirades will come back to haunt her and him. There is even one sound bite where Hillary says that McCain (and she) are better equipped to handle foreign policy than Obaa.

Not a good idea, Obama....... Give Hillary a few million to pay the bills and then "cut and run" as fast as you can!..... R. Jost

Take from the rich and give to the poor. The Democratric (marxist) way.

Great Success Obama!
Black people rule!

Time for a change in Washington. We cannot afford any more republican inspired damage. They are destroying America.

I was a republican, but it doesn't take more than a glance at a bad accident to know it's a bad one. That best describes our current administration. Putting mcCain in is the equivalent of another Bush.

I am jumping ships.

Why are people moaning that they are doing this for political reasons? Of course they are doing this for political reasons. If Hillary does not sing Baracks praises then the loney left wing of the party will finish eating her up to pieces. I love the Clintons, especially Hillary, and I always will. Just because HIllary endorses Barack dont mean I will vote for him.

As all of the comments thus far have, for some reason, been negative, I felt the need to be positive. Despite the biter campaign, finding a way to work together for the good of the party and the country is an admirable thing. Who's paying for it? Donors like me, that's who! People like me who have had enough negativity and who believe that politics can not survive if immovable forces exist on each side. So get a move on people!

Hillary did everything she could to destroy Obama using Republican talking points to attack him. Obama spent millions defending himself against her attacks during the nomination process even when it was impossible for her to win. He could have used that money to beat McCain in the general election. Now we are being asked to pay back her campaign debts? I don't get it.

I see where this is going. Without saying it, they are campaigning together for a reason. Obama is planting the seeds of VP Clinton. Look at that speech - Need the Clinton's in the future, all the "together" statements, and a whole paragraph on Hillary's history... I hope for the Democratic party, that we do see that ticket. I think that would be a very strong administration that could bring the change we need.

What's interesting too is what is NOT in this story.... if Obama was going to make Hillary his VP, this would have been a perfect opportunity to make an announcement. As near as I can tell, the phrase "Vice President" was MIA entirely in this little stage show. Methinks the tea leaves say that Hillary will have a long career in the Senate.

Ask/take from the poor and middle class and give to the rich guy and his friend.

The Democrat way.

"Long live the hood." Washington DC

2 posts that I noticed:

one saying Obama paid off Clintons dept...nope just donated and called for supporters to help(doubt they will, lol)

second Obama hiring a food taster? get a grip she would be the last to do that because most silly/ignorant people would turn to her first. You should wonder what the KKK has as a back up plan if he is elected though. lol.

This whole appearance was for show only. These 2 are so far apart the Grand Canyon looks like a tiny crack. Politicians have been playing nice for decades and they have the game down pat.

Dems. want the White House back in the fall and will do anything to assure that it happens. Including playing nice to someone they can not stand the sight of.

For your information Will, taxpayers are not footing this junkett as you call it. We payed for Cheney who was drunk and shot a friend in the face and also for our incompetent President to go to Europe recently and have the European Leades say to him "Good Ridance". It is a shame that as Americans, if you don' agree, all people can say is only bad things or derogatory words. Wake up. No More Liars, War Mongers and Exploiters of the Poor at the White House.

The rich have been taking from the middle class and the poor for the last eight years how do you think they got so rich get out of your confort zone matt we are taking back our country

It's tough to understand how Obama supporters keep drinking the kool-aid, and just highlight the positive talking points of their candidate. Such as, "he is such a gentleman", "what a nice gesture of unity", blah blah blah.

Don't they remember his touted "policies" during the primary? He has changed his position on so many issues since 2007 thru June 2008, that I just do not recognize the person anymore!

It has gone from "meeting heads of State (Iran/Cuba) with no preconditions", to his stance on NAFTA as being said only "in the heat of the primary". What about the change from accepting public financing?

All it says is, Obama is just another politician. It proves to me that he will not stand on principle, that he swims with the sharks and goes where the winds blow.

I simply cannot vote for such a man!

"Posted by: eliana | June 27, 2008 at 12:07 PM

all you naysayers, you are shaking in your boots as mcfossil will lose in a landslide. all you have is the politics of fear left. your narrow minded and shortsighted ways have done enough damage to this country. please, get out of our way"

In response: For the record, most changes that take affect during a presidents term are actually bills that were passed by the previous president, sometimes even the one before that. Neither Obama nor Clinton stood better odds than Frosty the snowman's chances of surviving in hell before this... Now they have a chance. The likelyhood of a female president, or an african-american president being elected on their own for the first time is slim to none, especially when both democratic candidates are trying to be the first of their kind elected as president ever. Personally, I think both of the democratic candidates and their whole campaign staff did what they needed to do; as all they were doing before is proving that they SHOULDN'T be elected because neither one of them knew how to work as a team, and they definitely didn't know anything about respect. And I don't know about ya'll, but I would want someone elected who at least has the decency and professional courtesy to respect their peers, not to even mention morals. I do think that this is a step in the right direction for them... but I sure as hell hope they don't win.

Seems like the Republicans just don't get that their problems are much bigger than Bush. When he exits, they won't be able to rebound without getting rid of all the other horrible leaders who have been around since the beginning of the mess and done nothing to fix the problems.

So... the democrats problems of unity (created in the last few months) are nothing compared to the republicans long standing issues within the party.

Check out this article--- Bye Bye Boehner
to see why they need a major overhaul

This entire charade is nothing more than continuing political garbage.

For 10-12 months they tear each other to pieces ridiculing each other's abilities, or lack thereof. Now, when it is expediently politically correct, they have emerged as "best friends".

What a bucket of slop. He needs her help and her supporters SO he pays off her campaign debt - that is nothing more than sheer bribery. Someone else always pays a Clinton debt - these are the same people who couldn't afford a NY home without friends of Bill paying for it so Hillary could run for the Senate. In debt to their ears from Bill's legal bills over the Monica episode.

She accepts (graciously which a Clinton never does without due cause) and will now campaign for Obama. Obama had best watch his back because the Clinton's only assist when they have an ulterior motive - can you read 2012?

Should Obama become president we will have three "presidents" in the WH. Obama who was elected - Hillary who believes, due to her popular vote, she is president - and good 'Ol Bill' who still believes he is president. My God, what a mess this will be!!!

These two people just fought an enormous and expensive battle for one of the most important, risky, and difficult jobs IN THE WORLD and all we, as citizens, can do is criticize them? What is wrong with out society? While I may not agree with some of their tenets, I appreciate the fact that both were willing to spend so much time, effort, and money for the job of President of the United States of America.

How many of us sit and pick apart our troops that are sent all over the world to risk their lives for our freedom. Nobody would dare, because of the service they perform, but we pick apart these presidential candidates piece by piece, without considering the risks involved in being holding the office they seek.

Maybe when our society can stop criticizing and laying blame on others, we can finally take responsibility for what we have collectively done. We are where we are today because of the actions and/or inactions of each American citizen, not because of President Bush or any other American leader. Our action or lack thereof put our leaders in office. It's time for us to inform ourselves and get involved in how our country is run. There is no reason that we cannot live more prosperous and progressive lives. It's time for all of us to show how much we care for our country. Anyone that doesn't care for our country is free to leave at the closest border!

"After making some odd comments about Clinton campaigning in heels...."

Whew! For a second there I thought you might be implying that the Big O was campaigning in heels. Still, better in heels than with heels, I guess.

-Wm Tate,

Hold it while I become ill. To say they are strange bedfellows is an understatement. A month ago they were throwing rocks at each other and trying to make us believe how inadequate and ill-prepared the other was to be President. Isn't it sweet................they were even color coordinated. Next thing they will be dressing in matching outfits. These people make me sick. All they can do is finger point and tell everyone what is wrong with this country but so far, I haven't heard one solution. The average man on the street knows what our problems are. We don't need a couple of high and mighty politicians to do that. If any of these fools would offer some solutions, it would be nothing short of a miracle.

To those stating that Barack Obama or his campaign is or has paid off her millions in debt, can you provide a link to coverage of this?

I am quite certain it is untrue--as it was reported the night it happened, Obama cut her a check for $4,600 the most allowable by a couple.

Haven't you been keeping up on your FOX NEWS???

Sooo, sick of all the cynics and haters out there. I think both HRC and BO rock! All of this negativity is precisely what's wrong with this country. I'm all for unity--politically motivated or otherwise. Both of them know what's best for the party and the country--and certain more than JMc. And who the hell cares anymore how "nasty" (or political) things got during the primaries--that's what that aspect of politics is all about. I voted for HRC, but will gladly vote for BO in the generals, as to do otherwise would be suicide for our country. Don't you people have anything better to do than bash, bash, bash and look for snarky things to say?

Unite behind a man who has been studying how to hate our country and how to hate whites and Jews for 20 years in his racist church with his hand picked racist America hating MENTORS?

I don't think so. Sorry Hillary. I supported you - but I can't sell my soul to the devil.

After what Obama, the DNC and the media did to Hillary - to BILL - and to our country... I can never forgive any of them. I have left the democrats for good. They have brainwashed America into believing in a man who is hiding his Muslim blood and secretly and repeatedly meeting with terrorists. How many times has he and his advisors met with Hamas and Hezbollah? And more importantly WHY IS HE MEETING WITH THEM? And why did he launch his political campaign at a domestic terrorst's home? There is only one answer to this question. But no one is asking these vital questions. Why? Because Obama has them all entranced.... in some mad spell from hell. Obama's brainwashing technique is working on those whose brains are empty and eager to be filled. Filled with what? CHANGE... Unidentifiable change. Obama incessantly repeats the two words "hope" and "change" and his gaga eyed minions get more of a glaze in their druken eyes and pant more fiercely. It is like crack to them. HOPE CHANGE HOPE HOPE CHANGE. That is all these driveling idiots need to hear.

GOD HELP US ALL AND GOD BLESS OUR COUNTRY (not God d@mn our country.)

So, Boris WHORElock, all Muslims are terrorists? That statement says it all.... Haters, haters all of you. Just what we DON'T need right now! Why don't you crawl back under that nasty rock you came from?

evilwooodchuck and boriswhorelock,
I would not be surprised if you were undercover McCan't supporters. I do know that you are vicious hate mongers so that is close enough to McCan't as you can be. Evilwooschuck, you are so naive that it is sickening. You say that Obama and Clinton have no respect for their peers and are immoral, then you must have had blinders and earplugs on while McCan't has been spewing insults and lies at the Democrats. And you Boriswhoreslock, you and eviwoodchuck must live in the same trailerpark and exchange your deranged perceptions of what is taking place. You are probably a little mentally disadvantaged and has defimitely got the message of Change" twisted, especially since you probably cannot see past this economical mess we are and have been in for eight years. neither of you can envision a better America, so you bash anyone who try to change this financial fiasco. You boriswhoelock do not have to sell your soul to the devil because you are the devil. Go Barack Obama, Yes WE Can".

Maybe the strained uncomfortable look on Hillary's face was caused from her high heels?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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