HILLARY Rodham Clinton disavowed efforts by some supporters who have urged Barack Obama to choose her as his running mate.
The push-back came a day after the former first lady said she would end her quest for the Democratic nomination and endorse the Illinois senator.
“She is not seeking the vice-presidency and no one speaks for her but her,” said communications director Howard Wolfson. “The choice here is Senator Obama’s and his alone.”
Clinton was planning an event in Washington tomorrow to thank supporters and urge them to back Obama’s candidacy. But as she was bowing out of the race, supporters in Congress and elsewhere were ramping up a campaign to pressure him to put her on the ticket in the No 2 spot.
Bob Johnson, the billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television and a Clinton supporter, sent a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus — an African-American grouping in Congress — on Wednesday urging the group to encourage Obama to choose Clinton as his vice-presidential pick. He said he was doing so with her blessing.
Clinton has told other friends and supporters she would be willing to be
Obama’s running mate. But her immediate task is bringing her own presidential bid to a close.
In an email to supporters, the New York senator said she “will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise”.
Clinton expressed the same sentiment in a conference call with 40 members of her national finance committee, whom she urged to begin raising money for Obama and for the Democratic National Committee.
“She was in good spirits and totally supportive, without qualification, of Senator Obama and his campaign,” finance co-chairman Alan Patricof said of the call.
It was a shift in tone by the former first lady, who announced 17 months ago that she was “in it to win it”. Many of her supporters want her as the vice-presidential candidate, in their minds a “dream ticket” that would bring Obama her enthusiastic legions and broaden his appeal to white and working-class voters.
But Obama indicated he intends to take his time making a decision.
“We’re not going to be rushed into it. I don’t think Senator Clinton expects a quick decision and I don’t even know that she’s necessarily interested in that,” he told NBC in an interview.
Clinton’s move to formally declare that she is backing the Illinois senator came after Democratic congressional colleagues made clear they had no stomach for a protracted intra-party battle. Now that Obama has secured the 2,118 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination, Clinton had little choice but to end her quest, and sooner rather than later. The move to end her campaign came on Tuesday, when Clinton told House Democrats during a private conference call that she would get behind Obama’s candidacy and congratulate him for gathering the necessary delegates to be the party’s nominee. The announcement closed an epic five-month nominating battle pitting the first serious female candidate against the most viable black contender ever. Her decision to acquiesce caught many in her campaign by surprise and left them scrambling to finalise the logistics behind her campaign departure.
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