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Clinton to get roll call at Democratic convention

Emblematic move intended to ensure a convention free of rancor and unite the Democratic Party after a divisive primary.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Hillary Rodham Clinton's name will be placed in nomination along with nominee-in-waiting Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, an emblematic move intended to unite the party after a divisive primary.

During the Denver gathering, Democrats will officially choose Obama to run against Republican John McCain this fall, but the state delegations will do a traditional roll call for their nominee's vanquished primary opponent as well.

Obama and Clinton — fierce rivals then, reluctant allies now — agreed to the arrangement after weeks of negotiations between their respective aides. The two sides made the announcement Thursday in a collegial joint statement.

"I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton's historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion," said Obama, an Illinois senator.

Added Clinton, a New York senator: "With every voice heard and the party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama president of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again."

The move is intended to ensure a convention free of rancor and help the Democratic Party heal after a bruising primary. The goal also is to mollify still-disgruntled Clinton backers and acknowledge the former first lady's groundbreaking presidential run. She was the first woman to compete in all of the Democratic Party primaries, though she fell short of becoming the first to achieve a major party nomination for the White House.

Obama's campaign said he encouraged Clinton's name to be placed in nomination to show unity and recognize her accomplishment.

Earlier, he gave both Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton, prime speaking slots during the convention.

All that ensures an enormous presence for the couple who have been national fixtures in the Democratic Party since 1992.

Clinton will speak on Aug. 26, the second night of the convention.

Historically, the state-by-state roll call occurs on the next day.

While Democrats say the mechanics of how that will play out still are being determined, Clinton — herself a superdelegate who gets a vote — is expected to release her delegates to Obama, announce her support for him and ask her backers to do the same.

Her husband is slated to address the delegates that day, too, as is Obama's still unnamed vice presidential nominee — yet another strong indication that he won't ask Clinton to be his running mate.

Obama finished the primary season with a 364-delegate lead over Clinton. Obama had 2,254 delegates, to 1,890 for Clinton, according to an Associated Press tally compiled three weeks after the last primary. It takes 2,118 delegates to win the nomination. About 85 superdelegates still had not endorsed a candidate.

Some 35 million people participated in the protracted Democratic primary, and Obama and Clinton said they wanted to "honor and celebrate these voices and votes" by putting both of their names into nomination.

Certainly, they also hoped to head off any disruptions that could give Republicans — and the national media televising the four-day event — an opening to claim Democratic disarray.

Obama needs Clinton's supporters to beat McCain in November.

While polls show that Obama has won over most of the Clinton faithful, some simply don't like Obama or still feel Clinton was treated unfairly during the primaries.

Critics have indicated they would make their voices heard during the party's Denver party in less than two weeks.

One group intends to paper the city with fliers, promote a video detailing what they contend were irregularities in the nominating process and unleash bloggers to give their take on the proceedings.

These Democrats have accused Obama of manipulating party caucuses for extra delegates while others complain that Clinton was the victim of sexist party leaders or media mistreatment. Many vent over the way the party divvied up delegates from the Florida and Michigan primaries, two states that were punished for violating national rules by holding their contests early.