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Pledging support to Obama, Clinton notes historic campaign and exits race

Many are calling her Washington speech the best of her campaign.

By Associated Press / June 9, 2008



On Saturday Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton suspended her presidential campaign after claiming some 18 million votes in Democratic primary races. Below are excerpts from her speech in Washington taken from a Congressional Quarterly transcription.

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"Well, this isn't exactly the party I'd planned, but I sure like the company....

I entered this race because I have an old-fashioned conviction that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their dreams. I've had every opportunity and blessing in my own life, and I want the same for all Americans. And until that day comes, you'll always find me on the front lines of democracy, fighting for the future....

The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.... I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit....

We all know this has been a tough fight, but the Democratic Party is a family. And now it's time to restore the ties that bind us together and to come together around the ideals we share, the values we cherish, and the country we love. We may have started on separate journeys, but today our paths have merged....

It is this belief, this optimism that Senator Obama and I share and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard. So today I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes, we can!...

When we first started, people everywhere asked the same questions. Could a woman really serve as commander in chief? Well, I think we answered that one. Could an African-American really be our president? And Senator Obama has answered that one. Together, Senator Obama and I achieved milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of our perpetual duty to form a more perfect union....

You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories ... unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the president of the United States. And that is truly remarkable, my friends....

To those who are disappointed ... it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours. Always aim high, work hard and care deeply about what you believe in....

Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it ... and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time....

When you hear people saying or think to yourself, If only, or, What if, I say, please, don't go there. Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next president....

This is now our time to do all that we can to make sure that, in this election ... we take back our country and once again move with progress and commitment to the future. Thank you all. And God bless you, and God bless America."

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