The anti-Hillary Clinton pundits were sounding the theme a few months ago that by staying in the presidential race through June 3, the former first lady was a divisive force that would irreparably harm Barack Obama's chances of capturing the White House.
But now Mrs. Clinton's decision to stay in the race until the last primary has been vindicated. Mr. Obama is a stronger candidate today thanks to Mrs. Clinton's pursuit of the Democratic nomination. And, far from being polarizing, she has helped bring the party together more than at any time in recent memory.
We know this from Mr. Obama himself. Because she didn't quit until after the primaries were over, his grassroots organization grew stronger across the nation, his fundraising network became more extensive, and his TV and radio advertising from the late fall of 2007 to June 2008 increased favorable recognition of him in many states. These things made him a stronger general election candidate.
We also know that Mr. Obama became a better candidate over time as he was tested, and retested, in the key head-to-head debates with Mrs. Clinton. These debates made him more prepared and effective when he squared off against Sen. John McCain than he otherwise would have been.
There are two other claims anti-Hillary pundits repeated about the damage Mrs. Clinton was supposedly doing to the party that have now been repudiated. The first is that she hurt Mr. Obama by attacking him for being inexperienced, and for his connections to Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers. Not only have these criticisms been proven false, but the opposite turns out to be the case.
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