A few short minutes after Ohio was called for Hillary Clinton, the candidate took the stage in a blizzard of confetti, next to her daughter, Chelsea, and key Ohio supporters.
“Thank you, Ohio,” said Clinton when the applause finally died down.
Clinton wasted no time in making the case that her convincing win in Ohio again brought her back from the brink and justified the continuation of her campaign.
“For everyone here in Ohio and across America who has ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out,” she said, “who works hard but never gives up, this one is for you.”
Then she argued, in many iterations, that Ohio’s traditional impact as a bellwether state meant that she should be the party’s nominee.
She said, “You know what they say: As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” And: “The people of Ohio have said loudly and clearly we’re going on, we’re going strong and we’re going all the way.” And: “No candidate in recent history, Democrat or Republican, has won the White House without winning the Ohio primary.” And: “We want a Democratic nominee who can win the battleground states just like Ohio.”
As the votes in Texas continued to be counted, with Clinton and Barack Obama neck-and-neck, Clinton took the opportunity of live television coverage and an attentive press corps to hit Obama again on what seems to have emerged, in Ohio at least, as his vulnerability.
“This is a great night, but we all know that these are challenging times,” she said, asking the supporters below her “who is tested and ready to be commander in chief on day one, and who knows how to turn our economy around. Ohio has written a new chapter in the history of this campaign and we’re just getting started.”
Then she referred to the frightening phone call commercial that also seemed to have been effective.
“When there is a crisis and that phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House, there is no time for speeches or on-the-job training,” she said. A few seconds later, she said that “together, we will turn promises into solutions and hope into reality.”
And then the confetti fell again. The music was Bruce Springsteen’s “Land of Hope and Dreams.”
As Clinton worked the rope line and her press corps hurriedly packed up their bags to fly with her to D.C. and then a rally in Philadelphia tomorrow, Obama appeared onstage.
“In the weeks ahead we will begin a great debate,” he said. The debate was not with Hillary Clinton, he said, but with John McCain.