Summoning the "God of second chances," former President Clinton appealed for votes for his wife in African American churches in Los Angeles on Sunday, nudging close to an apology for having used language that many thought was racially insensitive.
As he tried to secure for Hillary Rodham Clinton the strong support he enjoyed from African Americans, Clinton went out of his way to say that he understood the tension between voting for her, at his request, and casting a ballot for Barack Obama.
Though the word apology never came out of Clinton's mouth -- nor did the name Obama -- the tone of his remarks was a reversal of dismissive remarks last month, when he called part of Obama's pitch a "fairy tale" and compared his South Carolina victory with one of the primary wins in Jesse Jackson's ultimately unsuccessful candidacy.
"We have to find a way to choose without division," Clinton told congregants at Brookins Community AME Church in Leimert Park. "To disagree without discord. To celebrate the shattering of all these phony categories that have kept Americans apart too long."
The Obama campaign answered the visit by the surrogate-in-chief with a raucous rally featuring its own roster of influential endorsers at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. In addition to Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy, California first lady Maria Shriver was at the rally -- and was formally introduced as part of the Obama camp.
Winfrey made essentially the same argument to women as former President Clinton made to African Americans: No knee-jerk voting, please.
"Every part of me believes in the empowerment of women," Winfrey said. "But the truth is I'm a free woman. Being free means you get to think for yourself and you get to decide for yourself what to do."
The dynamic of the day matched that of the California race as the last frenetic weekend before Tuesday's vote came to a close.
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well miss Oprah, THIS free woman wants to see hillz in the white house ok?