Hillary Clinton began the campaign by saying she was “in it to win it.” In the New Hampshire primary victory speech she delivered just now at the Southern New Hampshire University, she told the cheering crowd, “We are in it for the American people.”
Hillary Clinton has become a better candidate.
And in these last few days she has also become a more emotional one. “I want especially to thank New Hampshire, over the last week I listened to you and in the process, I found my own voice.”
Everyone in the packed gym, one day after she was publicly moved to near-tears yesterday at a Portsmouth diner, knew exactly what she was talking about.
After repeatedly thanking the rapturous crowd, she started her speech by saying, “I come tonight with a very, very full heart” and this: “I felt like we all spoke from our hearts and I am so glad you all responded. Now let’s give America the kind of comeback you have just given me.”
She continued to emphasize the seriousness of the campaign, though in less foreboding terms.
“For all the ups and downs of this campaign,” she said, “you helped remind all of us that politics is not a game.”
Echoing Obama’s rousing concession speech moments earlier, in which he adopted a “yes we can” mantra, she said, “I believe deeply in America, in our can do spirit.”
Like Obama, Clinton pushed the message that the campaign was not about her, but about the American people. “We’re going to tap into all the spirit, the talent and just the plain grit of this nation again,” she said. “You want this campaign to be about you, because there is so much at stake for our country.”
She only needled Barack Obama once, gently, in the process of thanking her New Hampshire campaign.
“That team had a great staff, it had volunteers and supporters from across the state and country,” she said. “I want to thank the young people across New Hampshire who came out–they asked the hard questions and voted their hearts and their minds.”
Otherwise, she respectfully thanked Obama and all the other Democratic candidates, those who dropped out and those still running. She thanked her husband, daughter and mother.
“This campaign,” Clinton said, “will transform America.”