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CAMPAIGN '08: THE DEMOCRATS

Tears for a candidate who 'represented me'

June 08, 2008|Noam N. Levey

Marie Pierre wiped away tears as she left the National Building Museum in Washington on Saturday after hearing Hillary Rodham Clinton formally end her campaign.

"She stood tall and high," said Pierre, a 56-year-old French immigrant who came to America in 1972 -- the same year Congress sent the ill-fated Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification.

Like many Clinton supporters of her generation, Pierre had gone to Clinton's final campaign rally despite the heat and the humidity to offer her support and, perhaps more important, to thank the New York senator.

The younger women Pierre works with at her day spa in northern Virginia may not have understood what Clinton stood for, she said.

Many voted for Barack Obama.

But Pierre came from a world these younger women wouldn't know. And as Clinton spoke of her hope that "women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and mothers," Pierre raised her arms triumphantly into the air.

"Yes," she cried from her perch on a barricade near the back of the crowd.

And when Clinton talked of fighting "for the single mom with a young daughter, juggling work and school," Pierre blew kisses.

Asked as she was leaving the rally why she had been so emotional during Clinton's exit speech, Pierre responded simply: "She represented me."

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-- Noam Levey

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

'The path will be a little easier next time'

Excerpts from Hillary Rodham Clinton's concession speech delivered Saturday in Washington:

Well, this isn't exactly the party I'd planned, but I sure like the company.

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.

Now, I understand -- I understand that we all know this has been a tough fight, but the Democratic Party is a family, and now it's time to restore the ties that bind us together and to come together around the ideals we share, the values we cherish, and the country we love.

We may have started on separate journeys -- but today our paths have merged. And we're all heading toward the same destination, united and more ready than ever to win in November and to turn our country around, because so much is at stake.

It is this belief, this optimism that Sen. Obama and I share, and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard. So today I am standing with Sen. Obama to say: Yes we can!

Now think how much progress we have already made. When we first started, people everywhere asked the same questions.

Could a woman really serve as commander in chief? Well, I think we answered that one.

Could an African American really be our president? And Sen. Obama has answered that one.

Together Sen. Obama and I achieved milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of our perpetual duty to form a more perfect union.

Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it . . . and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

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Source: Associated Press

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