... I have to say, I agree with the conventional wisdom that it was magnificent. Having complained about some of her recent performances, I felt it fair to register in this modest way a "public" thumbs-up vote.
For her campaign it was a distinct weakness that she could present such different faces day by day. But it certainly is a strength for Barack Obama and for the Democrats that this is the face she now wears. (After the jump, my favorite passages.) There is no point wondering where this eloquence and delivery were before. That she mustered them yesterday is to her great credit
I love this passage, both for its content -- which directly addresses her most disappointed loyalists and gives as generous an endorsement as you will hear from someone who has just lost -- and for its style, which combines normal speech-ish eloquence with "don't go there."
So I want to say to my supporters: When you hear people saying or think to yourself, "If only, or, "What if," I say, please, don't go there.
Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next president.
And this one too, which in about fifteen ways is a stunning change from the tone of only a few days ago and which cannot have been that easy to deliver ("applause" marks courtesy of NYT transcript):
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.
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.
And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.
And this concise and precise assessment of his strengths:
I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with him in 22 debates. I've had a front-row seat to his candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit.
And finally this, in the peroration:
Now, being human, we are imperfect. That's why we need each other, to catch each other when we falter, to encourage each other when we lose heart. Some may lead, some may follow, but none of us can go it alone.
We need only think of her previous mention of being "human," in the flap over sniper fire in Bosnia, to start speculating... what if?? But I won't go there and instead will say, gracefully done.
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