Democratic hand-holding still strained
It was almost too saccharine to contemplate. There was the first-term senator from Illinois and the second-term senator from New York, standing together in Unity, N.H.
In February, Barack Obama won 107 votes for president in Unity. Hillary Clinton also won 107 votes.
On Friday, she wore a blue dress and he wore a matching blue tie. Something this sappy could have been saved for a high school prom, not high stake politics.
Yes, Clinton said she was waiting for Obama to be sworn in as president and, yes, she said she was supporting him. The two former foes then joined their campaign forces; Obama's campaign picked up Clinton's policy director, Neera Tanden, who became Obama's domestic policy director.
Obama made out a check to the Clinton campaign, which has a $10 million debt.
Watch Hawaii follow the same path, but with one exception, the local Democratic Party is defined by Sen. Dan Inouye -- and he backed Clinton and lost.
That defeat was made clear to him when his forces ran Jennifer Goto Sabas, his longtime local representative for a delegate seat to the national convention. Inouye's pick lost as the state delegates loyal to Obama voted for former appellate judge James Burns.
Since then the Obama forces with Brian Schatz, as the new party chairman, and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, as spokeswoman of the Clinton campaign, have talked about unity and are expected to participate in several unity-building events across the state.
"We are e-mailing back and forth and doing organizing," reports Schatz.
Privately, the rank-and-file party officers are saying the Clinton and Obama relations are strained.
Hawaii's senior senator has been in Washington ever since Hawaii became a state, 49 years ago, and he has become Mr. Hawaii to Democrats across the country. A word from Inouye can launch a political career.
The Obama troops in Hawaii, however, owe little to Inouye and a lot to the charismatic Punahou grad with a grandmother still living on South Beretania.
"We are good Democrats and we will be able to rally together. Although there is always a period after a hard-fought election where you have to pause," Schatz says.
The heightened interest in Obama this year is likely to help Democrats across the ticket, both in state and congressional races.
After the election the aphorism that "All politics is local" will still hold true, and it will be up to Inouye and the Obama forces to bring the divided Democrats together.