DENVER – Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama worked out a convention city deal to limit the divisive roll call for president, a step toward an uneasy alliance of former rivals and their still-bitter supporters.
Many Clinton backers said Monday they were not interested in compromise and wanted a prime-time celebration of Clinton’s nomination fight. Clinton herself said she wouldn’t tell her backers how to vote.
Democratic officials involved in the negotiations said the deal would let a few states cast votes for Clinton before a move to declare Obama the nominee by acclimation.
Still, she told supporters she would cast her own vote for Obama and said, “We were not all on the same side as Democrats, but we are now.”
The voting could perhaps end with New York, when Clinton herself would call for unanimous nomination of Obama from the convention floor, Democratic officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity while the deal was being finalized.
Obama said he isn’t involved in negotiations over the roll call and is letting campaign manager David Plouffe work out the details with the Clinton team.
Campaigning in Iowa, Obama told reporters the Clintons “couldn’t have been more clear” in their support for his candidacy and the Democratic convention would help produce the party unity needed to bring victory in November.
Not everyone was getting the message, with some Clinton supporters refusing to back Obama and others saying they’ve felt unwelcome in Denver. Susan Castner, a Clinton delegate from Portland, Ore., said six people insulted her as she walked alone down the street Saturday night wearing a Clinton t-shirt, telling her to take it off and calling her a profanity.
“I know this is not coming from Barack Obama, but his supporters are helping us decide who to vote for” in November, Castner said. “I hate the feeling that you shouldn’t wear your Hillary gear unless there are two or three of you together.”
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest child of the late Robert F. Kennedy and a former lieutenant governor of Maryland, said the animosity that some Clinton delegates feel toward Obama “is getting worse.”
Townsend, a Maryland delegate, was a strong Clinton supporter but now is fully behind Obama.
She said she partly understands why some of her colleagues have not joined her yet.
“There’s a moment that you want to enjoy your bitterness,” she said.
It was not clear whether there would be floor demonstrations for Clinton after her name was placed in nomination, a spectacle that could detract from Obama’s political coronation.
Clinton said she would not instruct her delegates how to vote, and many will probably vote for Obama.
Others, she said, “feel an obligation to the people who sent them here that they were elected to represent.”
Mary Boergers, a Maryland delegate, scoffed at the notion that suppressing the Clinton roll call would help show solidarity behind Obama.
“To try to suppress the celebration that we all want to have about her achievements is what would tear this party apart,” she said.