At the same time, key players in Mr. Obama’s fund-raising team have reached out to Mrs. Clinton’s top New York fund-raisers, including Alan Patricof, Hassan Nemazee, Maureen White, Steven Rattner and Jonathan Mantz. Mr. Mantz, who served as the Clinton campaign’s finance director, would be an especially significant acquisition for the Obama team, both because he was the one who actually organized the campaign’s top donors and because it would signal to Mrs. Clinton’s bundlers that the coast is officially clear for them to join the other team.
All of which is being met, at last, with vigorous nods of approval from party elders.
“Democrats have been out of power for eight years,” said Leon Panetta, the former White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton. “If you want to fall back on the kind of experience that’s going to be important in making policy decisions and in kind of understanding the nuances of what those decisions are, it’s not a bad idea to make use of that experience.”
At the same time, Mr. Obama’s official surrogates have reciprocated, showering Mrs. Clinton with praise since her gracious concession.
The question now is how long it will take—or even whether—the official displays of comity will trickle down to the voters.
Certainly, the dire polling data showing high numbers of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters unwilling to vote for Mr. Obama will settle. But the most committed of her loyalists may be slow to forgive what many of them genuinely saw as a chauvinistic joint effort of the Obama campaign and the media to bully their candidate from the race.
Much will also depend on how the vice presidential selection process plays out—watch for Mr. Obama to engage in a long and elaborate public courtship of the former first lady before he picks someone else—and on whether things go smoothly on the campaign trail as Mrs. Clinton is forced to muster enthusiasm for the young senator who beat her, over and over and over again.
Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, who provided Mr. Obama one of his highest-profile endorsements during the primary, said, “Her speech went very far to help her supporters make that transition, but it is a work in progress. As with all campaigns that involve bringing sides together and creating unity, it doesn’t happen on one day or even with one speech, even a very effective speech like this. There is more work to do.”
He added, “Sometimes it takes your supporters longer to come together and heal than it does the candidates.”
To cite one small example: On June 8—the day after Mrs. Clinton’s speech in Washington—blogger and Clinton bundler Jill Iscol wrote the following e-mail to former New York State Democratic chair Judith Hope and more than a dozen other Clinton supporters: “the first among the many steps should be to support those who risked their own candidacies on hillary’s behalf. courageous leadership should be rewarded. and, i also believe the dnc needs to be held accountable for its stupid rules which cost hillary the nomination and negates the popular vote. we also need to figure out how to address the lack of leadership within our party when it came to standing up against the false accusations and attacks against both clintons by the media and the obama campaign.”
The feeling—even among those of Mrs. Clinton’s high-profile supporters who are inclined not to hold a grudge—remains that it is she who made the sacrifice in calling an end to the race for the nomination.
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