Obama: 'Be Nice to Clinton Supporters.'
By Matthew Mosk
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Sen. Barack Obama showed every sign of confidence that he has secured the Democratic nomination during a high-dollar fundraiser at a posh club here last night.
Obama predicted a victory in Oregon and said he believed the resulting delegate haul would "put us over the top."
"We will be able to say we have won a majority," he said. "But we have a lot of work to do ahead of us."
For the past several days, Obama has been moving closer to declaring himself the party's nominee, even as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been campaigning aggressively to soak up delegates in the few remaining primaries. At an event in the timber-country town of Roseburg, Ore., he twice slipped into past tense when referring to Clinton's bid and the primaries.
Already, top fundraisers for Clinton and Obama have begun private talks aimed at merging the two candidates' teams.
At the fundraiser, he told a boisterous crowd of about 300 supporters that a win in November would require a unified Democratic Party, adding: "That means all of you have to be nice to Clinton supporters."
Not everyone in attendance was firmly sold on Obama. Christine Cha, 41, a radiation oncologist at the Oregon Clinic, said her husband was completely on board, but she continued to relate to Clinton. She said appreciates "how hard it is for a woman to try and break the ultimate glass ceiling." She didn't mind the tough primary, saying, "I think the process is very important. It's good she's giving him a real run for it so he is tested now."
On the other hand, there were many who said they had fallen for the senator, including Jeff and Annie Strain, both in their late 30s, who drove more than three hours from Seattle to attend the event.
And there was Julia Brim-Edwards, 46, who became a Republican in 1979 and worked on Capitol Hill for Republicans including then-Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon. She ran her husband's campaign for state treasurer (he's Randall Edwards, a Democrat), and said he won the primary by only a few hundred votes. She had not changed parties to help him. But in April, she says she switched parties for Obama. "He will fundamentally change the country," she said. "He's very unique."
Michelle Obama introduced her husband at the event, in the wood-paneled University Club of Portland, and she expressed some surprise at where the two have found themselves after 15 months of campaigning. "So here we are," she said. "Probably not where we were supposed to be, ever. No one put their money on Barack Obama."
At which point, a woman in the crowd shouted, "I did!"
"And look what you've done," Michelle Obama smiled.
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