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One of Hillary's Most Ardent Supporters Changes her Mind; Will Support Obama

09/27/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While writing Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House on Bill Clinton's post presidency, I interviewed 167 people. None of them seemed as passionately committed--in love with, really--Hillary Clinton as Susie Tompkins Buell, the ultra-wealthy San Franciscan who cofounded Esprit with her ex-husband. She has since remarried and, with her current husband, Mark Buell, became the closest of friends with the Clintons. (I have written about the Buells in my book and often on the Huffington Post.) Hillary threw Susie an engagement party in the White House, they overnighted in the Lincoln Bedroom; Mark is a golfing buddy of Bill's; they are really best friends--or as best friends as one can be with the Clintons--individually and as couples.

In numerous conversations and emails with Susie she has expressed extreme distaste for the Obama phenomenon. She would not commit to voting for Obama in November. She seemed to flirt with John McCain's surrogate Carly Fiorina.

She emailed me yesterday from Denver:

"It is very sorrowful here but H will move us forward. It will be very emotional tonight. So many thousands of grieving people but seems ... some resolve coming. The reality has set in. It will be up to O to heal the party."

She emailed me this morning shortly after eleven, Denver time, referring to Hillary's speech last night:

"Tears everywhere in the center. I think it opened healing wounds. Reminded people of why they voted for her in 1st place. She was beautiful, gracious and above herself. So presidential. [emphasis added] It is now up to O to bring us home on Thursday..."

Okay, I thought, she is not quite there; still dreaming of Hillary taking the oath of office this January 20.

I just received the defining email from Susie Buell, sent precisely 31 minutes later:

"Hillary has convinced me and I will follow. She has unified the party. I am with Hillary and I support Obama. We must defeat McCain...".

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