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Can Democrats Unite Behind Obama After Bruising Primary Campaign with Clinton?

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New Jersey Superdelegate Who Supported Clinton Says Her Campaign Employed 'Very Divisive Tactics and Rhetoric' to Turn Jewish Voters Against Obama and Exploit Black-Jewish Tensions

By Skeeter Sanders

With Hillary Rodham Clinton now officially out of the running in the race for the White House, Democrats have begun the Herculean task of stitching back together a party deeply divided along generational, gender and especially racial and ethnic lines.

But that task could be made much harder following the disclosure Friday by a New Jersey superdelegate previously pledged to Clinton that the former first lady's campaign employed "very divisive," racially-motivated tactics against her former rival in an attempt to turn Jewish voters away from him -- and exploit longstanding tensions between African-Americans and Jews.

The New York senator formally brought her history-making presidential campaign to an end on Saturday with a rousing farewell in Washington to thousands of supporters and with an emotional and unequivocal pledge to campaign hard for Senator Barack Obama, who made history of his own last Tuesday when he became the first African-American to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

“The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States,” Clinton told her supporters. “Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him.”

Obama Turns Toward Search for Veep Running Mate

Obama, who watched Clinton's speech from his Chicago home, wasted no time in lavishing praise on his defeated rival. “I honor her today for the valiant and historic campaign she has run,” he said. “She shattered barriers on behalf of my daughters and women everywhere, who now know that there are no limits to their dreams.”
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The Democratic nominee-elect -- whose campaign Web site prominently displayed a "Thank you, Senator Clinton" message on its home page -- remained off the campaign trail on Sunday, preparing for a tour of the country in his upcoming race against his Republican counterpart, John McCain in the November general election.

But his first order of business for now is choosing a vice-presidential running mate. And already, Obama is coming under mounting pressure from Clinton supporters -- particularly women -- to name the former first lady as his No.2.

"No one brings to a ticket what Hillary brings," Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Feinstein hosted a secret meeting between Clinton and Obama at her suburban Washington home on Thursday night. Neither senator would disclose what was said during the meeting.

Feinstein cited Clinton's achievement in winning around 18 million votes during the nominating contests, with particular strength among women and working-class Democrats. "I do think she has a chance, but that's up to him," Feinstein said. "It's going to take some time. The nerve endings have to be healed. They are being healed."

Or are they?
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N.J. Superdelegate: Clinton Exploited Black-Jewish Tensions

A Democratic superdelegate from New Jersey says he is worried that unifying the party behind Obama may be extremely difficult, because the Clinton camp "has engaged in some very divisive tactics and rhetoric it should not have."

Representative Rob Andrews, who supported Clinton throughout the primary season, disclosed in an interview published Friday in The Star-Ledger of Newark that he received a telephone call shortly before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary from a top member of the Clinton campaign and that the caller explicitly discussed a strategy of winning over Jewish voters by exploiting longstanding tensions between Jews and African-Americans.

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I'm a native of New York City who's called the Green Mountain state of Vermont home since the summer of 1994. A former freelance journalist, I'm a fiercely independent freethinker who's highly skeptical of authority figures -- especially when (more...)

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