Dems agree to put Clinton's name in nomination

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be recognized, for the sake of party unity, before Obama officially claims the nod.

Published August 14, 2008 4:33PM (EDT)

In less than two weeks, Hillary Clinton's name will be formally put forth as a Democratic candidate for president -- and then she'll step aside for Barack Obama, who (as you know unless you stopped paying attention to politics sometime last fall) won the primary battle.

"Since June, Senators Obama and Clinton have been working together to ensure a Democratic victory this November," said a joint statement from both their press offices Thursday. "They are both committed to winning back the White House and to ensuring that the voices of all 35 million people who participated in this historic primary election are respected and heard in Denver. To honor and celebrate these voices and votes, both Senator Obama's and Senator Clinton's names will be placed in nomination."

The details of exactly how that will happen -- and how Clinton will formally turn her delegates over to Obama -- haven't been worked out yet, advisors to both campaigns told Salon. Clinton might simply decline the nomination, or she might turn her delegates over to Obama en masse at some point during -- or after -- a roll-call vote.

Negotiations over how to unite the two campaigns -- both at the convention and for funrdaising purposes -- have been going on for weeks, occasionally requiring what one participant called "delicate diplomacy" to move forward. But by Thursday morning, the two camps were basically in agreement that it made sense to recognize Clinton's supporters by putting her name up in Denver. (First the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder and then the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny had each reported on the situation before the statement went out.)

Some of Clinton's fiercest supporters had been pushing that idea for weeks, though it wasn't entirely clear whether Clinton wanted to go along. "I know, from just what I'm hearing, that there's incredible pent-up desire," Clinton said at a fundraiser last month. "And I think that people want to feel like, 'OK, it's a catharsis, we're here, we did it, and then everybody get behind Sen. Obama.'" Recently, aides to both candidates say, both decided that would help party unity.

"I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton's historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion," Obama said in the campaign statement.

In a subtle sign of who's running the show in Denver, though, the statement arrived via e-mail from an Obama aide, not the Clinton team.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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