Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton stood side by side in the tiny New England outpost of Unity, New Hampshire, to provide the image many Democrats needed to see after their long, bruising primary battle. And the former rivals both understand they need each other now. Friday’s unity event was the first public step in meeting all those needs.
Obama publicly implored the New York senator and her husband, former President Clinton, for their help. And he let her supporters know he appreciates her historic run bid to become the first female president. Obama and his supporters also got what they needed to see: Clinton endorsing the Illinois senator without equivocation and imploring her loyalists to join his cause.
After worrying for months that the Clintons would be too narcissistic and power hungry to accept defeat with grace, Obama’s backers had to acknowledge that she more than came through with her end of the bargain.
The former first lady needs to be an energetic team player to protect her own legacy. She cannot be seen as someone who stood in the way of a Democratic victory in November or of electing the first black president. Many Obama backers already blame Clinton for weakening Obama’s candidacy by remaining in the primary race long after she had any hope of winning.