The Pepsi Center was jumping last night. There was a constant flow of people in the hallway. The floor of the Pepsi Center was buzzing and damn near impassable. I left the floor minutes before fire officials closed the doors.
While on the floor, I got a chance to interview Florida state Sen. Anthony C. "Tony" Hill Sr. before Hillary Clinton's speech. Tony was an early supporter of Barack Obama. And since Florida is a key swing state, the delegation is seated a few feet from the stage.
I asked Tony for his take on Clinton's prime time star turn:
I think that, again, Senator Obama has taken the high road. He has accommodated Clinton's historical run. It's just like in sports: someone wins, someone loses.
Tony had high hopes for Clinton:
Tonight, she will seal the deal as it relates to her supporters and people who feel they've been alienated or disrespected.
Clinton’s podium turn was preceded by a video narrated by her daughter Chelsea, who said her mother "had reached for the stars."
Clinton then walked out on stage dressed in an orange pantsuit. After declaring herself "a proud Democrat," she said the words that Team Obama has been waiting to hear:
Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines…
Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President. Clinton's words of unity were greeted with thunderous applause.
Did Clinton seal the deal with the "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits?" Only time will tell.
The Washington Post reports that many Clinton supporters are still bitter:
Despite Clinton's plea for Democrats to unite, her delegates remained divided as to how they should proceed.
There was Jerry Straughan, a professor from California, who listened from his seat in the rafters and shook his head at what he considered the speech's predictability. "It's a tactic," he said. "Who knows what she really thinks? With all the missteps that have taken place, this is the only thing she could do. So, yes, I'm still bitter."
Clinton was also wearing “WomenCount orange,” the color of a new group that is committed to ending sexism and gender bias in the political process.
Hours before her convention speech, Clinton helped launch WomenCount at a reception. She told the 500 women gathered in downtown Denver:
WomenCount will continue to stand up against the pervasive bias that we saw in the media. WomenCount will continue to stand up and be a voice for those who feel that they are left out and left behind. There is so much work to be done and this is exciting and energizing work.
I stopped by the reception and spoke with several Clinton backers. I can assure they intend to keep going.