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Clinton Releases Delegates

Just hours before Wednesday night’s roll-call vote, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) told her 1,920 delegates that she was releasing them to cast their votes for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), though she left the door open for them to vote for her.

“I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” Clinton said moments before being drowned out by shouts of protest.

“I’m not telling you what to do,” Clinton told her supporters, who erupted into “Hillary!” chants throughout her speech. “Many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in your state. Others want a chance to vote what’s in your heart.”

The most important thing, she continued, is that Obama will be nominated as the next president by the end of the night.

“I signed my ballot this morning for Sen. Obama,” Clinton said, a statement that drew a mild level of cheers. “But a lot of other people signing your ballots have made a different choice.”

The New York Democrat got some laughs when highlighting surprises and disappointments over the last seven years. This included when “the vice president shot someone in the face in Texas” and Bush being at the Beijing Olympics with the beach volleyball team while Russia was invading Georgia.

Overall, the primary experience was humbling and inspiring, Clinton said. “We didn’t make it, but boy did we have a good time.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who introduced Clinton, said there “certainly was some hurt at the end” of the primary when she narrowly lost.

“But let me tell you … the hurt that some of us feel today would be so much worse if John McCain was president of the United States,” Nutter said, referring to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. McCain (Ariz.).

In the build-up to the reception, scores of people adorned with Hillary pins and glittering hats wound around the main floor of the convention hall.

“Is this the Hillary line?” was a frequent question from passers-by. Referring to the number of votes Clinton received in the primary, one delegate scanning the lines commented, “All 18 million of them are here.”

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