Clintons deliver the goods

Bill and Hillary Clinton on Wednesday provided a powerful one-two punch on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, twice sending convention delegates into a frenzy while giving the Illinois senator a spirited show of unity.

Early in the afternoon, Hillary Clinton announced the votes for the New York delegation that officially clinched the nomination for Barack Obama, and then made a successful motion for the convention to endorse Obama “by acclamation.” Nearly four hours later, her husband delivered a rousing speech saying that “Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore America’s leadership in the world.”

The Clinton choreography began with the New York senator’s well-received convention speech Tuesday night, and continued at an offsite meeting with her delegates 90 minutes before the convention was called to order on Wednesday. At that meeting, Clinton officially released her delegates from their pledges to her. She followed three hours later with her surprise motion on the floor. House speaker Nancy Pelosi, the official chairwoman of the convention, announced that the nomination officially was unanimous.

Later, former President Clinton urged all 18 million of his wife’s primary voters to support Obama in November. He emphatically said his own experience in the Oval Office “convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.”

Bill Clinton dismissed criticism of the Obama’s qualifications. In 1992, he noted, “Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be Commander-in-Chief. Sound familiar? It didn’t work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it will not work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.”

Hillary Clinton delegate Charlotte Martin of Indiana sat on the convention floor while festooned with nearly two dozen colorful political buttons.

“I cried both on the night that Hillary suspended her campaign and again when she released her delegates today,” she said. But an hour after Hillary Clinton put Obama over the top, Martin said she would gladly “work very, very hard” for Obama for president. “Hillary made it easier,” she said. “I was very proud of her and her courage.”  

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