WASHINGTON — Diehard Hillary Clinton backers stepped up a campaign Wednesday to get their heroine onto the nominating ballot alongside White House hopeful Barack Obama at this month's Democratic convention.
The group Colorado Women Count/Women Vote said it would hold a pro-Clinton parade in Denver on August 26, the second day of the convention when the New York senator is rumored to be given a prime-time speaking slot.
The date is also the 88th anniversary of female suffrage in the United States, and the group said it would press home its demand for Clinton supporters to have a chance to vote for her on the first ballot with Obama.
Even if she has no chance of winning, given Obama's overall lead in the delegate count, such a vote would mark a symbolic confirmation of the nearly 18 million primary votes won by Clinton during her battle for the nomination.
But other pro-Clinton groups such as PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) claim that she could still win the nomination if enough Obama delegates can be persuaded to switch sides at the Denver convention, and are lobbying to that end.
"That is not going to happen!" Clinton told a group of female supporters a week ago, while appearing to back the efforts to get her name on the first ballot as a cathartic exercise for the sake of Democratic unity.
"What we want to have happen is for Senator Obama to be nominated by a unified convention of Democrats," she said.
"The best way I think to do that is to have a strategy so that my delegates feel like they've had a role and that their legitimacy has been validated."
After a bitterly fought primary campaign with Obama, Clinton suspended her drive for the Democrats' presidential nomination in June and then gave her full backing to his election battle against Republican John McCain.
Following a pair of joint fundraisers in New York last month, she is due to hold a rally on Obama's behalf in Las Vegas on Friday and another in Florida on August 21, four days before the start of the Denver convention.
Obama, now safely secure in the party nomination, called Sunday for the renegade states of Michigan and Florida to be restored with full voting power after months of bitterness over their decision to hold early primaries.
That represented an olive branch to Democratic officials and voters in two states that will be vital players in November's presidential election.
Clinton won both unofficial contests, though neither candidate campaigned in Florida, and Obama was not on the ballot on Michigan.
But PUMA and other pro-Clinton groups such as the Just Say No Deal Coalition, vowing never to support Obama, are still threatening to raise a ruckus in Denver.
Copyright 2008 AFP
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