Some die-hard Hillary Clinton fans in Texas may be leaving the state's Democratic convention more than a little reluctant to embrace Barack Obama's candidacy, especially after a debacle involving her much anticipated concession speech.
Convention attendees were supposed to watch Clinton's speech on Saturday, in which she unequivocally asked supporters to back rival Sen. Barack Obama, via a live CNN feed. But only minutes into her remarks, the satellite signal began to drop out in small spurts, interrupting the speech, until finally going down permanently, much to the consternation of the massive contingent of Hillary supporters hoping to pay some sort of final tribute to a candidate they campaigned for with passion.
Audible groans and curses erupted around the Austin convention center replacing the sentimental tears that had just been shed. State leaders soon emerged to try to placate the restless audience and deliver the major points of Clinton's speech, now lost to technological mishaps, in which she asked her supporters to get behind Obama. But already much of the audience was lost, with many Clinton supporters grumbling about insult being added to injury and hurt feelings continued to linger.
Delegate Charles Kallassy was determined to hear Clinton's speech unmediated through party leaders. Ignoring the ramblings of speakers on stage, he used his laptop and wi-fi connection to log onto a webcast of her speech. This video shows him repeating the rest of her speech word-for-word, to dozens of delegates crowded around him eager to hear the farewell verbatim.
Clinton's concession coincided with the final day of the Texas Democratic Convention. It should have been a boon to Texas Dem leaders hoping to add some real legs to their unity campaign, a concerted effort to retain the support of Clinton fans they fear may be too upset to campaign for Obama and other Democratic candidates come November. Party leaders sense a unique opportunity for Democrats to make serious gains in a typically red state this coming election.
But with few convention delegates besides Kallassy able to hear Clinton's appeal to move forward and unite the party, her entreaties may have lost the power they might have had at that prime moment. Sure, many of those Hillary supporters in Texas may catch the speech afterward on YouTube, but this is a group that must be carefully wooed over the next few months. And keeping them from sharing in Clinton's moment (though unintentional) may not be the best beginning for a united Democratic party.