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Crowd erupts during Obama speech -- but it's over mention of Clinton

July 14, 2008 |  6:14 am

An interesting and surprising little thing happened Sunday while Barack Obama was speaking (in English) to the National Council of La Raza in San Diego.

It was, according to The Times' Louise Roug, a fairly standard Obama stump speech before the crowd of more than 2,000 members in the Convention Center, where the Republican Party nominated Sen. Bob Dole 12 years ago.

Barack Obama the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee speaking

Obama said the gorgeous weather reminded him of his native Hawaii. He criticized the current stand on immigration reform of his Republican opponent, John McCain, who gets his chance to address the group Monday morning when he will stress his economic growth proposals, especially for small businesses, and criticize Obama's plans to raise taxes.

The crowd was very respectful of the Democratic nominee-to-be, who easily leads among Latinos, according to polls. And Obama also talked about giving tax credits to small businesses that provide health insurance for employees.

It was then that the crowd erupted in enthusiastic applause and warm cheers. But not over Obama's policy proposal.

What ignited that outburst was the mere mention by Obama of the name Hillary Clinton, his vanquished party opponent.

She wasn't there, of course. But in absentia the Democratic Party's loser got a noticeably warmer response than the winner, perhaps a reflection of that lingering party unity thing that was taken care of up in Unity.

Or maybe they were just being spontaneously friendly.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

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