U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton wave as they step off a plane in Manchester, New Hampshire June 27, 2008. They are on their way to Unity, New Hampshire to hold a rally and will be the first time the former rivals have shared a stage in public since Obama clinched the Democratic nomination earlier this month and began trying to mend the rifts caused by their epic 16-month campaign struggle. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Two former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination appeared on the same campaign stage in a New Hampshire town named Unity on Friday afternoon to show their "unity for change."
It was the first time for Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to show up in public since the latter suspended her campaign on June 7.
The two were caught in a neck-and-neck presidential nomination race, which was terminated with Obama's win on June 3.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) bumps his head on the door as he boards a plane with Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in Washington, June 27, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
"We may have started on separate paths ... today our hearts are set on the same destination for America ... to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States," Clinton told the rally. "We are one party, we are one America."
Unity, which was deliberately selected to be their first appearance location for the symbolism of its name, awarded each of them exactly 107 votes in the New Hampshire primary in January.
Obama also praised the former First Lady for helping to "bring this country a new and better day."
"For 16 months, Senator Clinton and I have shared the stage as rivals for the nomination, but today I could not be happier and more honored and more moved that we're sharing this stage as allies to bring about the fundamental changes that this country so desperately needs," the Illinois Senator said.
"Hillary and I may have started with separate goals in this campaign, but we made history together."
He also directly addressed the tension between them left from the fierce competition for nomination, saying he knew "there have been times over the last 16 months where those biases have emerged," but he also knew "while this campaign has shown us how far we have to go, it has also proven the progress we have made."
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama greets Senator Hillary Clinton before boarding a plane in Washington, June 27, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
The two also attended together a private fundraising event on Thursday night in Washington, D.C., where Obama personally wrote a check of 2,300 U.S. dollars to help Clinton pay her debt of about 22 million dollars left from campaign.
Obama also asked his biggest donors to spare their fortune to help Clinton write off debt.
U.S. media reports earlier said that the two campaigns were still discussing what role Clinton should play for Obama's bid for the White House, and even precisely whether Clinton's name would be placed symbolically into nomination at the party's national convention in late August.
(Xinhua News Agency June 28,2008)