Clinton opened very graciously in Louisville tonight, offering many stirring words of support to Ted Kennedy. Kennedy’s “five extraordinary decades dedicated to America,” she said, were filled with passion for all the right progressive causes and paved the way for Senator Obama and herself. Remember, Ted Kennedy was a surprise endorsement for her opponent.
The portion of the remarks that pertained to the Democratic race were typical of Clinton’s new and seemingly contradictory campaign trail mix: positive messages that don’t tarnish the presumptive Democratic nominee plus an almost obstinant belief in herself and her chances. She thanked Kentuckians for handing her a huge victory despite the fact that “some have said your votes didn’t matter, that this campaign is over.” (She may have been referring to my last blog post.) She also restated her belief that she is winning the popular vote, which is true only if you do some very tricky and very selective math. “I have fought [this race] the only way I know how,” she added. “With determination, by never giving up and never giving in.”
But Clinton likely understands her chances. All negative attacks on Obama have been erased from her speech. The only people she attacks nowadays are John McCain and George W. Bush. In her speech today she even said that she and Obama “see eye to eye when it comes to electing a Democratic president in the fall.” It was in some ways a preview of the general election speeches Hillary Clinton may give as a campaign surrogate for Barack Obama.