What Role for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention?

Consideration of a symbolic delegate roll call vote stirs tensions.


Barack Obama still has a big decision to make regarding the Democratic National Convention later this month: Whether to allow Hillary Clinton to have a roll-call vote with her name placed in nomination, or try to block it.

Many Clinton supporters want the roll call to demonstrate the extent of her support in the Democratic primaries, where she drew 18 million votes and fell just short of catching Obama in the delegate count. Obama strategists are concerned that such a roll call will only stir up hard feelings. "And he doesn't want to remind people how close the race was," says a veteran Democratic adviser who is in close contact with both the Obama and Clinton campaigns.

But Clinton loyalists say it would be even more divisive if the Obama forces denied her a chance to show her historic level of support as a woman candidate. "Then there would be open warfare," says the Democratic adviser.

One solution might be for Clinton to voluntarily remove her name and urge all the delegates to vote for Obama, but it's not clear whether she will choose that course.

For his part, Obama has been conciliatory, reportedly giving Senator Clinton the coveted slot of keynote speaker on the second night of the convention.