Tue, Jun 24, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Hillary Clinton returns to public spotlight, Senate

AFP , WASHINGTON

Hillary Clinton has made herself scarce since she abandoned her campaign for US president earlier this month, but she reunites this week with ex-rival Barack Obama as part of her return to the public eye.

Clinton, who has been largely under the radar since June 7, was glimpsed at the funeral for NBC political journalist Tim Russert in Washington on Wednesday, accompanied by her husband, former president Bill Clinton, but she did not speak to reporters.

Clinton made her first public speaking appearance on Sunday, at a high school graduation in New York, and is to return to the Senate today for the first time since losing to Obama in the Democratic presidential nominating race.

“No one four years ago could have predicted that an African-American and a woman would have been competing for the presidency of the United States in 2008,” she said at the graduation ceremony.

The former first lady urged the graduating class, which included a longtime volunteer to her campaign, to use their “God-given talents and abilities” not only for themselves “but for all of us to make this world a better place.”

On Thursday she will address a meeting of close to 1,000 elected and appointed Latino officials at a luncheon in Washington. The same day, she is to meet with campaign donors, together with Obama.

On Friday she and Obama are to appear jointly at a campaign stop for the first time, but the time, place and even the purpose of the appearance have remained a closely kept secret.

The meetings could shore up reconciliation between the two politicians, who clashed for months during the party’s longest ever spate of primary nominating contests but generally were able to mask their antagonism for one another on the public stage.

Still, aides are making it difficult to discern what Clinton is up to.

Her Senate spokesman Philippe Reines denied that she would be taking a vacation until next month, but revealed no details about the New York senator’s plans in the meantime.

On June 3, when Obama claimed enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination for the White House, Clinton signaled she intended to press on, saying in a speech that night that the voices of the 18 million supporters who voted for her should count for something.

Four days later, she lent her support to Obama’s bid for president, though she did so in a speech during which she was alone at the podium, contrary to US political tradition by which the conquered typically appears next to the rival for such an announcement.

This past week, she held a teleconference with major campaign donors, during which spokesman Doug Hattaway said she asked them to support Obama.

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