Scroll down for updates…9:03pm Eastern CNN/AP report Obama has “effectively clinched” the nomination…McCain delivers speech ploddingly…better read than said…9:36pm Eastern Hillary takes the stage…9:53pm “I will carry your stories and dreams with me every day for the rest of my life. The question is where do we go from here…This has been a long campaign. And I will be making no decision tonight. But this has always been your campaign. To the 18 million who voted for me…I wanna hear from you.” Hillary tears up…10:12pm Eastern. Obama takes the stage. Does he know where he is tonight?
While the night wears on and the re-deification of the Obamessiah gets underway, let’s revisit that MSM ogling video to give you a taste of what’s to come:
Definitely a two-popcorn bag night if you’re a political junkie. It’s the final Democrat primary night of the campaign season. Polls close in South Dakota at 9pm Eastern and in Montana at 10 pm. The scene is set for Hillary’s farewell.
With grace or gritted teeth?
Expect a strained mixture of both–with a large dash of “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar.”
As for those VP rumors, I’m not buying it.
Meanwhile, Obama gets ready to party.
And via Drudge, McCain will attempt to grab some of the spotlight with an Iraq speech exhorting against Bush and Obama:
You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term. You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly the very different directions he and I would take the country. But the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama. They know I have a long record of bipartisan problem solving. They’ve seen me put our country before any President — before any party — before any special interest — before my own interest. They might think me an imperfect servant of our country, which I surely am. But I am her servant first, last and always. ….
I disagreed strongly with the Bush administration’s mismanagement of the war in Iraq. I called for the change in strategy that is now, at last, succeeding where the previous strategy had failed miserably. I was criticized for doing so by Republicans. I was criticized by Democrats. I was criticized by the press. But I don’t answer to them. I answer to you. And I would be ashamed to admit I knew what had to be done in Iraq to spare us from a defeat that would endanger us for years, but I kept quiet because it was too politically hard for me to do. No ambition is more important to me than the security of the country I have defended all my adult life.
Also look for more McCain-Hillary kissy-kissy.
Currently showing on the McCain campaign website:
Update: 8:42pm Eastern. Right on cue, McCain praises Hillary for inspiring him. “I’m proud to call her my friend.”
Update 9:03pm Eastern. McCain still talking and plodding along. Fox is the only one of the networks still carrying the speech. It’s pedestrian–and even McCain seems to have lost interest in his text. He read a line about Obama making a good first impression, and the audience inexplicably laughed. Did I miss something?
Update 9:10pm Eastern. It’s done and he seems relieved. Join the club.
Update 9:25pm Eastern. Mark Levin on McCain:
Not to offend those who might be offended, but this speech is a mash and tough to digest. You have to get through the self-congratulatory praise of independence and commander-in-chief pose from the Senate, then you have to try to follow the inconsistency of some of his big-government ideas vs. his anti-big-government rhetoric, and his inconsistency even on his supposed strength — the surge in Iraq vs. closing GITMO and conferring additional rights on the detainees. I am also put off by some of the anti-Bush stuff. Distancing himself from Bush is one thing, but he almost exclusively (as best I can tell) criticizes him, giving Bush little credit (tax cuts, Supreme Court appointments and yes, the surge, which Bush ordered not McCain).
Update 9:36pm Eastern. Hillary takes the stage. Hillary congratulates Obama. “Our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result…It has been an honor to contest these primaries…it is an honor to call him my friend…take a moment to recognize him and all his supporters for all they have accomplished…”
Thirty seconds into the speech, she whips out the gender pride/gender card. Thanks all the little girls and old women who supported her. Thirty-five seconds in, she delivers a website plug for hillaryclintondotcom.
She’s very mellow (for Hillary). Wonder if she had a drink before she took the stage.
YES, WE CAN! chants break out. She tells her supporters every vote they cast was a “prayer” for this country. She’s proud they stood their ground. 35 million people voted in the primary. “I’m committed to uniting the party.”
“None of you is invisible to me. I see you. I’ll keep fighting for you.”
“A lot of people are asking, ‘What does Hillary want?’ I want what I’ve always wanted in this campaign. I want to end the war. I want health care for all Americans. I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard…I have an old-fashioned notion…that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their own dreams…This nation has given me every opportunity and that’s what I want for every single American.”
A small dig: “I’ve been working on these issues not just for the past 16 months, but for the past 16 years.”
Pats herself on the back for demagoging the subprime crisis.
Hillary rallies her troops with memories of campaign successes. “I will carry your stories and dreams with me every day for the rest of my life. The question is where do we go from here…This has been a long campaign. And I will be making no decision tonight. But this has always been your campaign. To the 18 million who voted for me…I wanna hear from you.” Plugs the website again. “In the coming days, I’ll…determine how to move forward. “I want to conclude tonight by saying thank you, thank you to the people across America.”
Huge roar of applause. Bill Clinton clapping from the sidelines.
Hill’s eyes are leaking.
9:55pm Eastern. Hillary ends with a heart-tugging health care anecdote about an elderly supporter she met.
Cackle count: Zero.
Update 10:12pm Eastern. Obama is in St. Paul. He gets it right. He thanks everyone, his staff, his wife, his daughters…and his grandmother “who’s somewhere in Hawaii…who poured everything she had into me…this is for her.”
“Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.” Huge applause.
“Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.” Massive applause/chanting.
Obama’s salute to Hillary:
At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.
That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.
Snarky Obama jabs McCain:
In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.
Can’t make it through all the cliches. Agh. Here’s the full text if you must know what the teleprompter was scrolling for Obama.