Unity Day is finally here in the Democratic Party. Last night, at their meeting in front of major Clinton fundraisers, the two "showered each other with praise yesterday in their first joint appearance since the end of the Democratic presidential primary season at an event in which the senator from New York urged hundreds of her top donors to get behind the party's presumptive nominee."
"Obama faced some tough questions during the event, designed to help put 18 months of hard feelings aside and allow Democrats to focus on a general-election campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain. At one point, an attendee told Obama that if he wanted to be seen as a true leader, he needed acknowledge that sexism had played a role in the demise of Clinton's campaign. Obama agreed and said that the issue should be addressed.'
The New York Times notes that Obama said that "he had written a personal check of $2,300 to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a good-will gesture intended to nudge his top donors to help ease Mrs. Clinton's campaign debt and help the two Democrats move beyond their rivalry to focus on the fall contest… 'I wrote my check to the Hillary for President Committee,' said Mr. Obama, who was greeted with booming applause. His wife, Michelle, also contributed $2,300."
"Obama is depending on the former first lady to give her voters and donors a clear signal that she doesn't consider it a betrayal for them to shift their loyalty his way. … Clinton, for her part, needs the Illinois senator's help in paying down her $10 million campaign debt, plus an assurance that she will be treated respectfully as a top surrogate on the campaign trail and at the Democratic Party convention later this summer. Some of her supporters want Clinton's name to be placed in nomination for a roll call vote at the Denver convention, an effort she hasn't formally discouraged."
An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll found 53 percent of the Democrats who favored Clinton for the nomination two months ago now back Obama for president. That's an improvement from April, when only 40 percent of Clinton supporters said they would back Obama over Republican John McCain.
Bloomberg News takes a look at Obama's "cool" image. "Obama, who grew up in laid-back Hawaii, cultivates an image of cool. Yet friends and colleagues said his unflappable demeanor masks a competitive streak that fueled his ascent from average student to Harvard Law Review president to state lawmaker to Congress and possibly the White House. Obama, 46, examined this drive in his 2006 book 'The Audacity of Hope.'"
"'I understand politics as a full-contact sport, and minded neither the sharp elbows nor the occasional blind-side hit,'' Obama wrote about his early political life." More: "Supporters and opponents alike have speculated whether Obama's even keel amounted to potential weakness as Clinton, 60, and the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, 71, stepped up their attacks on the less politically experienced Obama during the primary season."
"Such concerns, longtime friends said, are unfounded and don't take into account Obama's fervent drive to prevail, whether in his quest for the highest office, on the basketball court, or in a rural Pennsylvania bowling alley, where, in March, after several gutter balls, he stayed longer than expected and even solicited tips from a 8-year-old boy."
The Boston Globe: "Grove Parc has become a symbol for some in Chicago of the broader failures of giving public subsidies to private companies to build and manage affordable housing - an approach strongly backed by Obama as the best replacement for public housing," the Boston Globe writes. As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.
"But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies - including several hundred in Obama's former district - deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable. Some of the residents of Grove Parc say they are angry that Obama did not notice their plight. The development straddles the boundary of Obama's state Senate district. Many of the tenants have been his constituents for more than a decade.