Clinton suspends historic campaign
Local Clinton and Obama backers unite
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WASHINGTON » Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., suspended her pioneering campaign for the presidency yesterday and summoned supporters to use "our energy, our passion, our strength" to put Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in the White House.
Clinton issued a call for unity that emphasized the cultural and political milestones that she and Obama, the first black to secure a presidential nomination, represent.
For Clinton and her backers, it was a poignant moment, the end of an extraordinary run.
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Fran Kagawa did not hesitate to scratch out a change in her campaign sign to make it read "Hillary for Obama," instead of "Hillary for president."
Clinton's local supporters joined forces with Barack Obama's team to say they are all in it together.
Kagawa joined with other Hawaii supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton to pledge their support for Hawaii-born Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president.
Clinton supporters joined with Obama's local campaign organizers at a press conference at the state Capitol yesterday to proclaim that Hawaii Democrats will be united behind a presidential candidate with local ties.
State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, the Clinton campaign chairwoman here, said the race for the Democratic nomination was historic.
"When the dust settles, people will realize this is the American dream, a man of color and a woman both being able to aspire to the highest position," she said.
Hanabusa expressed confidence that any lingering bitterness between Clinton and Obama supporters will soon pass.
"It's not unusual to say that people have got to heal a little bit," Hanabusa said. "Yes we're disappointed. She's our candidate. But the real issue here is our nation and we've got to move forward. Things will work itself out."
Also at the unity new conference were members of the United Public Workers and the Hawaii Government Employees Association. Both unions backed Clinton.
Leonae Rodrigues, chairwoman of the UPW's political action committee, said she's ready to vote for local boy Obama.
"Along the way, he was moving all of us," she said. "We're happy to support him."
Kagawa, president of the retirees unit of the HGEA, said she said other Clinton supporters should swallow their pride, think about the issues and the nation, and not vote for a Republican.
"It undermines Sen. Clinton to go with the opposition just because the other Democrat won," she said. "If you supported her and the things she stood for, they should support Obama because he stands for the same things she does."
Andy Winer, Hawaii state director for Obama's campaign, said the two sides will meet within the month to arrange joint events, particularly on the neighbor islands.
McCain's campaign chairman Gene Ward, said he's happy the Democratic race is over and there's a clear choice between the Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain.
"Everybody is relieved because the campaign had been almost too long for the American public," said state Rep. Gene Ward, co-chairman for McCain's Hawaii campaign. "It's going to be a more astute comparison between two people, and that's where I think the cutting edge of democracy lies."