From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli, Caroline Davis, Alex Wall and Katie Mulhall
WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton received another warm welcome today from a group that supported her in strong numbers during her primary campaign, telling a room full of Latino elected officials that "we all have to be united."
VIDEO: Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials at a gathering in Washington, D.C.
"I was very honored to have so much support in the Hispanic community," she said. "I believe this country is worth fighting for, and the best way to continue this fight is to elect Barack Obama as president of the United States."
She said that because President Bush "sent our nation backwards," and listed a host of problems facing the country from lack of affordable health insurance to unemployment to the mortgage crisis. Clinton recalled a familiar line from her campaign, saying she will continue standing up for the "invisible," adding that the best way to help them "is to make sure that we have a Democratic president taking the oath of office."
"And we need to elect more Democratic senators and more Democratic members of the House," she added. "We need to show that the Democratic Party is ready to govern, to make it clear that the progress which we should take for granted in American can again be counted on."
The applause each time she referred to supporting Obama was less enthusiastic than the initial support that greeted her. She worked to assuage any remaining resentment, though, and talked about her own plan to campaign with Obama in Unity, New Hampshire, tomorrow, where she said they would be "making the case for a Democratic victory."
"I know that this was a hard fought primary campaign. And I am very grateful for the passion and determination of everyone who supported me," she said. "But every issue you care about personally, every issue that your constituents care about, every issue that NALEO is fighting for, is really at risk. We cannot afford four more years of the same. ... And therefore, we have to be determined to chart a new course. And we cannot do that, without electing Senator Obama our president."
Clinton ended on a personal note, saying that Latino leadres can "count on me" on issues of concern in their communities.
"I will be there for you, as your advocate, your partner, and your friend."
Clinton was just one of a host of Democratic leaders speaking before NALEO, a nonpartisan organization. Nancy Pelosi, struggling with laryngitis spoke briefly before Clinton, saying that she looked forward to a Congress with greater numbers of Democrats working with a Democratic president.
"Anything is possible for our country if we elect Barack Obama president of the United States," she said.
Obama and John McCain are scheduled to address the organization on Saturday.