From NBC's Domenico Montanaro, Ben Weltman and Lauren Appelbaum
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Clinton struck a conciliatory tone toward Obama, hinted at his nomination to lead the Democratic Party and bordered on an endorsement during her remarks to a pro-Israel lobby here.
Speaking of the strong relationship between the United States and Israel, Clinton said, "It is one of our party's most cherished values, and it will continue under the next Democratic president. I know Senator Obama understands what is at stake here. It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him.
"It is an honor to call him my friend, and let me be very clear, I know that Sen. Obama will be a good friend to Israel."
She added later, "I know that Sen. Obama shares my view that the next president must be ready to say to the world America's position is unchanging, our resolve unyielding, our stance non negotiable. The United States stands with Israel now and forever.
Both Clinton and Obama struck a tough tone toward Iran. Obama said he would do "everything" in his power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. "Everything," he reiterated. Clinton, however, said she called the Iranian Revolutionary Guard "what it is -- a terrorist organization."
*** MORE *** Clinton voted for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment naming the group a "terrorist organization." Obama opposed the measure. It became a political football between the candidates earlier in the primary season. Recently, the issue has cropped back up, as the McCain campaign and the RNC have taken the same stance as Clinton, hitting Obama for opposing the measure. Obama, however, maintains he opposed the measure not because of the naming of the guard a "terrorist organization" which he says he believes, but because of other language and its connotations.
*** UPDATE *** Here's NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli's take... She did not say it explicitly. But Hillary Clinton came tantalizingly close to acknowledging that there may be a Democratic president not named Hillary Clinton, telling AIPAC Conference attendees that Barack Obama "will be a good friend to Israel."
"The Democratic Party's strong commitment to the state of Israel since the days of Harry Truman endures today," she said. "It is one of our party's most cherished values, and it will continue under the next Democratic president. I know Senator Obama understands what is at stake here. It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him. It is an honor to call him my friend. And let me be very clear: I know that Senator Obama will be a good friend to Israel."
She said Obama shares her view that the next president "must be ready to say to the world that America's position is unchanging, our resolve unyielding, our stance non negotiable."
"And let me underscore that I believe we need a Democrat in the White House next January because it is not just Israel that faces challenges in the 21st century," she said. "President Bush has moved us in the wrong direction. For all the strong rhetoric you heard from Senator McCain Monday, he will continue the same failed policies in Iraq and weaken our security, making the Middle East a more dangerous place. America needs a new beginning in our foreign policy."
Clinton has no public schedule for the remainder of the day, with aides saying only that she'll continue meetings.