It's not exactly Woodstock '69 but close. It's the season premiere '08 general election campaign. The music will be blaring. The crowd will be jumping. The loudspeakers booming. The cameras rolling and clicking, but the press buzz before today's official "Unity Tour" in the symbolically named town of Unity, New Hampshire, truly began last night in Washington. That's when Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, each wrote $2,300 checks easing the pain of Sen. Hillary Clinton's lost presidential nomination bid and paving the way -- quite literally -- for the Hillaryites and Obamacans to ditch their weapons and hold a massive group hug.
Today's unity demonstration with the current stars of the Democratic Party -- Hillary Clinton has now eclipsed her husband and former president as the Clinton who matters most in national politics and Barack Obama, is now the de-facto leader of the Democratic Party -- will be sharing the same stage, but this time pulling for just one candidate.
This promises to be the photo-op of the week, sending hundreds of journalists from around the world to a tiny town no one will ever forget, though no presidential candidate in recent years has visited there, but no matter. The press will capture the scene in living color. No doubt, MSNBC will cover it live.
Mayhill Fowler of "OffTheBus fame" (The New Yorker) will be there, along with this reporter. We've been covering this gruesome cycle since last spring and I haven't seen Fowler since a bitterly cold night in Des Moines, Iowa, a few days before Barack Obama surprised Mrs. Clinton -- and the rest of the country -- with his huge win in the Iowa caucus.
The rest is history but history did shift in New Hampshire primary when Sen. Clinton bagged a win, and voters, as well as journalists, held their breath while each candidate traded wins and losses throughout this long and bitterly fought primary to the end, delivering and accepting blows -- some below the belt -- from each other and their host of loyal surrogates.
Bill Clinton remains miffed according to news reports, but he's not the one who captured 18 million votes. His wife did that and because she was such an accomplished campaigner and fighter, she's still negotiating the terms of her surrender -- and future participation in the campaign -- by employing a top notch lawyer to "work out the details" with the Obama officials, which includes retiring some of her $20 million debt, among other issues.
A former Joe Biden supporter now living in Iowa sent me an invitation to their version of the Unity, New Hampshire, event scheduled for this Saturday:
"In Des Moines, the floodwaters have receded, Republican merchants have put up their "no trespassing" signs, anxious mothers have quarantined their remaining daughters, and extra space has been set aside at the Polk County Jail. All this in preparation for the biennial invasion of Democrats upon the Capital City for the state convention of the Iowa Democratic Party.... Because UNITY between previously warring factions is the order of the day, the Obamacans and the Hillaryites have promised to meet on the dance floor at the Hotel Savery at 10 p.m. sharp for a group hug."
Barb Leach, former Vice Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party and former Team Hillary member, is returning home to lead the healing process in the Hawkeye state, which is also crucial to both Obama and McCain in the fall election.
Similar events -- both organized and grassroots -- are occurring all over the country.
Sure, feelings are still bruised as both candidates admit, but most Democratic voters seem to be circling the Obama wagon, ready to hitch their support behind the surprising and historic Democratic nominee.
The latest Quinnipiac polls suggest that unity between the warring Democratic factions in other important swing states has already started to take effect :
In Colorado, Obama is ahead of McCain 49% to 44% (+2.7 percent margin of error).
In Michigan, McCain trails Obama 42%to 48% (+2.6 percent margin of error).
In Wisconsin, Obama leads McCain 52% to 39% (+2.5 percent margin of error)
In Minnesota, Obama is 54% against McCain's 37% (+2.5 percent margin or error).
With numbers like these, one wouldn't imagine that a Unity-New Hampshire-love-in is even required. But both Clinton and Obama know small states like New Hampshire are more than just a photo-op and a symbol. These are the states that gave Obama the nomination and may well give him the general election a few months from now, if the trend continues.