West, Southwest to get most Obama speech tickets

August 6, 2008 6:04:11 PM PDT
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is seeking a way for her delegates to be heard at the Democratic National Convention, telling supporters such a step will help unify a party that split between her and Sen. Barack Obama during their hard-fought contest for the presidential nod. "I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views respected. I think that is a very big part of how we actually come out unified," Clinton, D-N.Y., told supporters last week at a California fundraiser. A video clip of her remarks was posted on YouTube.

"Because I know from just what I'm hearing, that there's incredible pent up desire. And I think that people want to feel like, 'OK, it's a catharsis, we're here, we did it, and then everybody get behind Sen. Obama.' That is what most people believe is the best way to go," she said.

The former first lady did not rule out the possibility of having her name placed into nomination at the convention, being held Aug. 25-28 in Denver. But she also said no decisions had been made. "We are trying work all this through with the (Democratic National Committee) and with the Obama campaign," said Clinton, who suspended her White House bid on June 7 and endorsed Obama, an Illinois senator.

Clinton campaign officials are negotiating with both parties to determine the full scope of her role at the convention. She is expected to deliver a prime-time address to delegates on the second night of the gathering.

Spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said Clinton believes "it's important that her supporters have a voice in some way," adding that no decisions have been made on how this would happen.

But advisers to the New York senator said she will almost certainly not ask to have her name placed in formal nomination at the convention, avoiding a divisive vote on the night Obama is expected to become the Democratic Party's first black presidential nominee.

Under DNC rules, Clinton must submit a signed, written request to have her name placed in nomination, accompanied by a petition signed by at least 300 delegates. Some Clinton delegates have circulated such petitions, but the effort is meaningless without Clinton's signed request.

Delegates are not formally pledged to any candidate so Clinton does not need to "release" them to Obama. The rules also say delegates may vote for the candidate of their choice whether or not the name of such candidate was placed in nomination.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean said in an interview last month that Clinton would have the right to put her name up for a binding vote at the convention.

"That's totally up to her," he said. "She is a duly registered candidate who got a lot of votes, and she is going to do what she wants to do."

Meanwhile, Democratic officials announced Wednesday that more than half of the 75,000 tickets for Obama's acceptance speech on Aug. 28, the convention's fourth and final night, will go to residents of Colorado, a battleground state critical to the party's hopes of winning the White House.

Obama will deliver his speech at Invesco Field at Mile High, home to football's Denver Broncos. Nearly two-thirds of the tickets will go to residents of the West and Southwest, including Colorado, where Democrats have made inroads in recent elections.

"You don't have to be a delegate or party insider to witness this historic moment firsthand," Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Leah Daughtry said, announcing the credentialing plans.

Ticket selection was designed "to showcase the gains the party has made in the West," she said.

Convention committee spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth declined to say how many tickets would be issued.

Last week, Obama campaign officials said they hope to turn the stadium crowd into a giant phone bank, with attendees using their cell phones to ask friends and others to register and vote. The first three nights of the convention will be held at the 21,000-seat Pepsi Center.

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Associated Press writers Catherine Tsai and Beth Fouhy in Marion, Ohio, contributed to this report. ---

On the Net:

Democratic convention: http://www.demconvention.com/


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