Hillary Clinton will be symbolically put forward as a presidential candidate at the Democratic convention later this month even though she narrowly lost the nominating battle to Barack Obama, the two campaigns said on Thursday.
Obama encouraged Clinton’s name to be placed in nomination as a show of unity, the campaigns said in a joint statement that noted the two senators "are looking forward to a convention unified behind Barack Obama as the party’s nominee."
Clinton, a former first lady who would have been the first female nominee of a major party, narrowly lost the nominating battle to Obama in a drawn-out campaign that ended in June, months after John McCain wrapped up the right to represent the Republican party in the November election.
Clinton later endorsed Obama, the Illinois senator who would be the first black U.S. president, and urged her supporters to line up behind him.
But the hard-fought campaign left many of Clinton’s supporters bitter and wanting some recognition of the New York senator at the party convention in Denver beginning on August 25 since her chances of being picked as the vice presidential candidate have faded.
Clinton is scheduled to speak on the second night of the convention, August 26, two nights before Obama accepts the nomination.
"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, unified fashion," Obama said in a prepared statement.
A Clinton aide said there will be a roll call vote for the nomination but details were still be working. Such a procedure would allow Clinton’s supporters to vote for her on the convention floor, even though they would not have enough votes to deny Obama the nomination.
The Obama campaign hopes the move will dispel any lingering tensions, but it could also highlight those tensions to a national television audience. Clinton has privately supported a floor vote recently but Obama has been less enthusiastic.
"I don’t think we’re looking for catharsis," he told reporters on his campaign plane earlier this month.
Democratic strategist Doug Schoen said he thought the move would help to unify the party, though a floor vote might be taking things too far.
"I don’t think that the roll call would necessarily be that productive," said Schoen, who served in the administration of Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton.
"As long as it is a symbolic act designed to recognize her accomplishments, then I think it is a good thing," he said.