Few will declareit outright, but off the record people talk about soft versus solid support, and when it comes to Hillary Clinton conqueror Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il), some of his party supportin New Jersey remains soft.
With that in mind, and heading into the Democratic National Convention, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) today called on his fellow Democrats to jettison the angst and hurt feelings and focus on getting Obama elected president.
In a state where she triumphed by ten points, "there are a number of people still frustrated that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) got a bad deal this year," acknowledged Roberts."But the reality is the Democratic Party should be proud that we had two history-making candidates colliding.
"They collided, Obama won, and now we have to get busy about winning," said Roberts, who supported Clinton in the Democratic Party primary.
Althoughthe South Jersey Democratsays modern party conventions suffer because they have become mostly predictable theater, this one next week in Denver will be important for the Democrats.
"I think the convention, if it succeeds, is designed to create the picture and the reality of unity," Roberts said. "Frankly we need it badly. We need to focus not on our differences within the party but on Republicans."
Roberts said he plans to fulfill his responsibility as a delegate pledged to Clinton, then get behind the anticipated majority when Obama wins the nomination. The Speaker of the Assembly intends to pursue state politics at the convention, an inevitable enticement given the presence of so many county chair people and party players.
"I will be having discussions and looking at possible Assembly candidates for next year," Roberts said.
The Assembly Speaker is on the record in support of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) for vice president, in part because he believes Biden has great appeal to South Jerseyans.
Overall,Roberts remains upbeat.
"The average citizen doesn’t pay attention to politics until after the World Series,"he said. "Once the summer’s over, South Jersey will recognize what’s at stake."