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A Half-hearted Endorsement

Hillary Clinton speaks to EMILY's List.

6:45 PM, Aug 26, 2008 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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Denver

EMILY's List held a "Women Vote!" gala reception this afternoon, which I was forced to attend through a wi-fi hook-up. Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton all took the stage.

Clinton went first in a speech remarkably similar in tone to the address she gave yesterday. She began by thanking the organization and the crowd. In talking about her run for office, she had a moment reminiscent of New Hampshire, saying, "Remember, it's not just about politics. It's really personal. Because when you first start running, you have no idea where the path will lead."

Clinton then said that it was important for women to vote: "We're going to be turning out more voters and more contributors. . . . Your work is putting more cracks in that glass ceiling. . . . And thanks to you, one day it will completely shatter."

She said that it was important to add to the Democratic majorities in Congress this November. And then she talked about Barack Obama. "We need in the White House, starting on Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama and Joe Biden," she said enthusiastically. "Barack and Joe will champion the issues that we care about," she continued. "They will be there with us when we need to get that support from a president and a vice president."

Then Clinton pivoted to talk about Michelle Obama, asking, "Wasn't Michelle Obama terrific last night?" The crowd applauded enthusiastically. And here Clinton followed with a slightly jaw-dropping line. Clinton said that, "If the president is not exactly on our side, call the first lady--and with Michelle Obama we're going to have somebody who answers that phone!" It was a strange formulation, complimenting Michelle Obama while suggesting that President Obama might not always be on the right side of EMILY's List women--and then adding an allusion to the famous 3:00 A.M. ad.

Thus concluded Clinton's endorsement of Barack Obama. She then turned to John McCain, saying that "John McCain is my friend and my colleague." But she pointed out that McCain still doesn't believe in equal work for equal pay or abortion rights. Thus concluded her critique of McCain.

Wrapping up her speech, Clinton said that "the choice facing women in this election could not be clearer" as she asked them to work as hard for Obama as they did for her.

As endorsements go, they don't come more carefully calibrated.

Jonathan V. Last is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.