DENVER, Colorado - Agence France-Presse
Hillary Clinton grabs the limelight yesterday at the Democratic convention, her reward for punching "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" during her nominating loss to Barack Obama.
Clinton had hoped the party bonanza in Denver would mark the moment when she made history by becoming the first woman White House nominee, but will instead preach a message of unity and urge her supporters to line up behind Obama.
"Let there be no mistake about it, we are united," Clinton said on the eve of her appearance, after new whispers of tension between the two Democratic giants emerged on the first day of the party convention.
Obama will be crowned at the convention as the first African American nominee of a major party in U.S. history, as he gears up for a bitter sprint toward a general election clash with Republican John McCain in November.
But he faces the difficult task of placating millions of Clinton supporters, many in tightly fought battleground states he must win in November, who feel their heroine would be a better candidate and was the victim of sexism.
As the convention opened on Monday, the Obama and Clinton camps joined forces to aggressively squelch reports of lingering discord between them.
"We understand that some in the news media are more interested in reporting the rumor of controversy than the fact of unity," Obama's top strategist David Axelrod and senior Clinton aide Maggie Williams said in a joint statement. "The fact is that our teams are working closely to ensure a successful convention and will continue to do so," they said.
"Senator and President Clinton fully support the Obama/Biden ticket and look forward to addressing the convention and the nation on the urgency of victory this fall. "Anyone saying anything else doesn't know what they're talking about. Period."
The Politico website reported late Sunday that "mistrust and resentments" were boiling up between the two camps, and said the Obama campaign had angered Bill Clinton by trying to limit his convention speech to national security issues.
The Republican National Committee meanwhile released an advertisement featuring Clinton saying during the primary campaign that she and McCain had a lifetime of experience, while Obama had only a speech he gave in 2002.
"Was she right?" the ad asked, portraying Obama as the most inexperienced party nominee of modern times, and attempting to fan anger among Clinton supporters at Obama's choice of Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate.
Republicans also released a campaign ad featuring Debra Bartoshevich, who the party said was a Clinton supporter and lifelong Democrat who was supporting McCain because of his experience and judgment.
New attempts by Republicans to fray Democratic unity came a day after a Democratic official said Hillary Clinton would make a gesture of unity and release her nominating delegates to Obama. The move could take place at a reception for her supporters being planned by Clinton in Denver today, a day after she addresses the convention, the official said on condition of anonymity.
In a carefully choreographed maneuver, her name is to be put forward for nomination tonight, along with that of presumptive nominee Obama, in a bid to recognize her achievement. The former first lady's support could be vital as Obama faces a much tighter race with Republican presidential nominee John McCain.