Tensions still simmering between Clinton, Obama 

As day two of the convention unfolded, Democrats had yet to extinguish the simmering tensions between the camps of nominee Barack Obama and his former rival Hillary Clinton, whose speech tonight is supposed to bridge a divide before it overshadows the convention.

Clinton is the most anticipated speaker on a night that will also feature one of the party's fastest rising stars, former Virginia governor and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Warner.

On Wednesday, there will be a roll call vote for Clinton that will stop at New York, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., told the Examiner Tuesday morning.

Schultz was a staunch supporter of Clinton's campaign but is now working to unify the party behind Obama.

"Then Senator Clinton will call for the acclamation," of Obama as the nominee, Schultz said.

While she has yet to set foot in the Pepsi center, the buzz on the convention floor late Monday night was all about Clinton and whether or how the party would conduct Wednesday's roll call vote.

Delegates circulated various petitions on the convention floor in an effort to give delegates from every state a chance to cast a vote for Clinton.

Superdelegates conferred anxiously over the situation, talking in hushed voices about how the prolonged presence of Clinton is hurting the party, while at the same time publicly denying any intra-party fight.

"It is diminishing her," one senior female House Democrat lamented to a party leader. "It's got to stop."

Party officials want Clinton to do her part tonight to end the bickering and fully clear the path for Obama to win the White House.

"People need to know why it is important to elect Barack Obama without getting lost in what happened in the primaries," said Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. "Hillary Clinton needs to make that case."

Party officials told The Examiner that Clinton's speech will follow a video tribute narrated by daughter Chelsea.

Clinton will be at the Pepsi Center in the afternoon to survey the stage and she will then head to a gala sponsored by Emily's List, the organization that raises money for female candidates and staunchly supported Clinton's bid for the nomination.

While the organization was no doubt wishing it was throwing the bash for the first female Democratic nominee, it will instead honor Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama.

Schultz said she was not concerned that a truncated roll call will stir the anger of Clinton backers, some of whom say they will not vote for Obama on any convention ballot.

"The vast majority of Hillary supporter that are here have been saying we all need to come together," Schultz said, adding that the roll call vote "is a way for us to bring Hillary supporters behind Barack Obama and lock elbows and march forward together and celebrate and celebrate two history-making candidacies in one convention."

Clinton backer Deb Cummings, 42, a delegate from Washington state, said some of the discord on the convention floor has been fueled by Obama's decision not to pick Clinton as his running mate.

"We are still grieving that," Cummings said. "I'll vote for Obama in November but I have a choice here and my choice is Hillary."

 

   

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Susan Ferrechio

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