Clinton: "Tonight is America's night"

Super Tuesday may have left the Democratic race unclear as ever, but in her speech Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton certainly sounded optimistic, and so did her supporters.

Published February 6, 2008 5:28AM (EST)

As Hillary Clinton spoke to her supporters Tuesday night, the polls in California had yet to even close, much less deliver the victory that Clinton would eventually win there. But by the time she took the podium at her campaign's party in New York City, Clinton had appeared to confound her doubters and steal some momentum and spotlight back from rival Barack Obama in other primaries around the country. That was more than enough for her supporters, who made up a packed, raucous house.

Still, though the speech Clinton delivered was the furthest thing from a concession, it wasn't exactly a victory address either. Rather, she kept right on campaigning, focusing on the country and her plans for it after only a brief nod to what had happened Tuesday.

"Tonight we are hearing the voices of people across America," Clinton said. "After seven years of a president who listens only to the special interests, you're ready for a president who brings your voice, your values and your dreams to your White House. And tonight, in record numbers, you voted not just to make history, but to remake America."

After a brief, somber mention of tornadoes that hit Arkansas and Tennessee Tuesday night, Clinton was again upbeat, a broad smile on her face as she seemed to soak in the cheers of her supporters as she delivered her message for the night -- built on a theme of her vision for the U.S. -- and struck out at her Republican opponents.

"Now, we know the Republicans won't give up the White House without a fight. Well, let me be clear -- I won't let anyone 'Swift-boat' this country's future," Clinton said. "Together, we're going to take back America, because I see an America where our economy works for everyone, not just those at the top, where prosperity is shared and we create good jobs that stay right here in America. ... We must continue to be a nation that strives always to give each of our children a better future, a nation of optimists who believe our best days are yet to come, a nation of idealists, holding fast to our deepest values...

"It's the ideal inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty... 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free'... So today we say with one voice -- give us the child who wants to learn, give us the people in need of work, give us the veterans who need our care. We say give us this economy to rebuild and this war to end. Give us this nation to heal, this world to lead, this moment to seize.

"I know we're ready."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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