London, Jun 24: Senator Barack Obama has urged women who had backed Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic presidential nomination to support him against John McCain, the Republican nominee.
"If women take a moment to realise that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it," he said at a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus last week. The phrase "get over it" was viewed as dismissive by some of those present. "Don't use that terminology," The Telegraph quoted Congresswoman Diane Watson, as telling him. Such raw tension at the meeting underlined the difficulties Obama has to overcome when wooing Clinton supporters in advance of their first joint public appearance in New Hampshire on Friday. The self-consciously symbolic venue for their show of togetherness will be the small town of Unity, where Obama and Clinton each received 107 votes in the state's primary contest in January. They will have held a joint fundraising event at Washington's Mayflower Hotel the previous evening.
Some of Obama's advisers believe that Clinton's supporters have been sore losers while the former First Lady's camp is frustrated that plans to help her repay campaign debts of more than 10 million dollars have not yet been finalised. President Bill Clinton has yet to endorse Obama and during a speech to the US Conference of Mayors on Sunday mentioned the Democratic nominee just once - to praise him for supporting a programme started during the Clinton administration.
At a Bronx high school graduation ceremony, the closest Mrs Clinton came to mentioning Obama was when she said: "No one five years ago, or four years ago, could have conceived that an African-American and a woman would be competing for the president of the United States." There are bruised feelings in the Obama camp too. At the Congressional Black Caucus meeting, he said pointedly that "there's healing on both sides" to be done.
He reminded the congressmen and women that he had held his tongue even when Clinton allies had falsely suggested he was a Muslim and when the candidate herself had said he was not ready to be commander-in-chief.
Obama dispatched his wife Michelle to Washington at the weekend in an attempt to mend bridges. Mrs Obama spoke to the National Partnership for Women and Families, whose board members include the prominent Clinton supporters Ellen Malcolm, Judith Lichtman and Cheryl Mills.