Hillary Rodham Clinton will headline her own night at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama's campaign announced Sunday in a nod to her strong second-place showing in the party's presidential primary.
The former first lady will speak on the second night, Aug. 26 — the 88th anniversary of the women's right to vote. The campaign and convention committee in a statement called her "a champion for working families and one of the most effective and empathetic voices in the country today."
The Obama campaign is trying to avoid hard feelings among Clinton's supporters at their carefully orchestrated convention. But they still haven't reached a deal on whether Clinton will be included in the roll call vote for the nomination, which could make the party appear divided heading into the final stretch of the White House race.
The campaign said Obama's wife Michelle is slated to headline the opening night on Aug. 25, while the yet-to-be-named vice presidential pick will speak on the third. Democratic officials say Bill Clinton is also scheduled to speak that night, but only the headliners were in Sunday's official announcement made while Obama was vacationing in his native state of Hawaii.
Obama expected to become nominee
Obama is expected to become the party's first black presidential nominee on the fourth and final night as the convention moves from the indoor Pepsi Arena to a bigger venue at Invesco Field at Mile High stadium. It happens to be the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Clinton told supporters she is seeking a way for her delegates to be heard at the convention and be united after the hard-fought nominating contest.
"Because I know from just what I'm hearing, that there's incredible pent up desire. 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.' That is what most people believe is the best way to go," she said, according to video of the remarks taken by an attendee and posted on YouTube last week.
Obama told reporters Thursday he thought the negotiations with Clinton aides had gone "seamlessly," but he also rejected the notion that there might be a need for emotional release on the part of some Democrats.
"I don't think we're looking for catharsis," said Obama. "I think what we're looking for is energy and excitement."
Advisers to the New York senator said she will almost certainly not ask to have her name placed in formal nomination at the convention to avoid a divisive vote.
Under DNC rules, Clinton must submit a signed, written request to have her name placed in nomination, accompanied by a petition signed by at least 300 delegates. Some Clinton delegates have circulated such petitions, but the effort is meaningless without Clinton's signed request.
Delegates are not formally pledged to any candidate so Clinton does not need to "release" them to Obama. The rules also say delegates may vote for the candidate of their choice whether or not the name of such candidate was placed in nomination.