Sans Clinton, Democratic Senate Women Rally

Posted June 17, 2008 at 11:11am

Democratic Senate women met Tuesday morning at a historic building dedicated to women’s suffrage to unveil their “checklist for change” as they sought to coalesce around one theme and agenda after the divisive presidential nominating contest.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) opened the rally, at the Sewall-Belmont House, acknowledging first that her female colleagues supported different candidates during the Democratic presidential race, but that they are now united around Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

“We may have supported different candidates, but we are united,” shouted the fiery Maryland Senator, who supported Obama’s opponent, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) during the race.

But that message may have been overshadowed by Clinton’s obvious absence.

Although the 10 Democratic women tried to focus the rally around the Democratic agenda, they largely took cues from Obama’s campaign playbook, focusing on the desire for change.

Asked if Clinton’s absence presented any challenge for Obama, Mikulski was quick to note that the former first lady has thrown her weight behind the presumptive Democratic nominee and is united with her colleagues on the change agenda.

One of the Illinois Senator’s strongest backers, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), agreed, saying that she and her female colleagues, many of whom supported Clinton during the hard-fought presidential nominating race, are backing Obama and making the case for him.

“The Democratic women of the Senate, including Sen. Clinton, are already coalesced around Sen. Obama. We are united in showing that there are stark differences between him and Sen. McCain,” McCaskill said, referencing the Arizona Republican running for president.