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Hillary's clout is key at Democratic Convention

If she signals ambivalence, some supporters could stay home this fall.

Still faithful: Clinton supporters came together Sunday at a Denver eatery to screen a documentary critical of Obama.

Mary Knox Merrill – Staff

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Denver – The chances of a Democratic victory this fall may well turn on what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says in her prime time speech at the Democratic National Convention here Tuesday.

If she pleads with the 18 million Americans who voted for her to bury the hatchet and get behind Barack Obama, Democrats may regain the White House. If she signals the slightest ambivalence, enough of her supporters may stay home – or vote for GOP rival John McCain – to cost Democrats the race.

For Senator Obama, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Voter surveys show a tightening race with Senator McCain. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last week, just one of two voters who supported Senator Clinton in the primaries say they now back Obama.

The McCain campaign sought to exploit the party’s internal rifts Sunday with a TV ad questioning Obama’s choice of Sen. Joseph Biden as vice president. “She won millions of votes but isn’t on his ticket,” a female narrator intones in the ad called “Passed Over,” referring to Clinton. “Why?”

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