POLITICS

What Hillary Clinton Won By Losing The Nomination: New York Magazine

06/24/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The victor and the vanquished are standing in a cluttered hallway backstage at the Washington Convention Center, conducting a conversation short and sweet--for one of them, at least. It's just around noon on June 4, less than twelve hours after Barack Obama crossed the finish line ahead of Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination. Obama and Clinton are here to speak to the annual conference of the influential Jewish lobbying group AIPAC. I am here to meet Hillary for what will be the final interview of her campaign--and, apparently, to clock a little history in the making.

The scene unfolding in front of me is a semiotician's fantasia. For months, Clinton and Obama have battled (and battered) each other more or less as equals. But now there is no longer even a faint pretense of parity. When they first spy each other in the corridor, Clinton hugs the wall deferentially to let Obama pass; their brief tête-à-tête only ensues at the latter's instigation. When the chat is over and the nominee strides toward the freight elevator to make his exit, his Secret Service agents brusquely shoo away Clinton's aides: "Stand aside for Senator Obama! Make way for Senator Obama!"

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