CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire supporters are disappointed – even grieving the end of her historic campaign – but also willing to heed her call to unite behind Barack Obama.

“I think it’s going to take her supporters a little longer than she. She’s a realist. They put a lot of hope and faith in her,” said state Rep. Ricia McMahon, a friend and former member of President Clinton’s administration.

“It’s almost like going through the stages of grief,” she added.

Clinton ended her presidential campaign Saturday and told supporters to unite behind Obama. The former first lady gave Obama an unqualified endorsement.

Before she heeds Clinton’s call to enthusiastically work for Obama, McMahon said she needs to know if Obama will use Clinton in a way that shows off her leadership skills and highlights the issues central to her campaign.

“What I am looking for right now is indications from his campaign and supporters that they really appreciate what Hillary has contributed and how great a leader she is,” said McMahon.

Senate President Sylvia Larsen, who was in Chicago at a conference, did not see the speech, but said she would throw her support now behind Obama. Clinton “moved the glass ceiling – (even if women) didn’t break through it yet,” said Larsen.

National Committeewoman Anita Freedman said she is trying “not to go around weeping. I am so mixed up about the whole thing. I was not a fan of Obama’s but I will do whatever (Clinton) thinks is good,” Freedman said. “I’m a Democrat. That says it all.”

“Moving those 18 million voters who voted for her to him is a challenge,” said state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro. “No question it’s a challenge. I can move. I’ll follow her lead.”

Former State Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan said Clinton struck the right tone by being positive and upbeat, looking forward not backward.

“I think she went a long way toward bringing almost everyone in. Did she bring everyone in? No, but she went a long way. The things we stand for will be moved (forward) by having Barack Obama as president.”

“She showed her convictions and her stamina and her amazing grace,” said McMahon. “She obviously is a team player with an exceptional ability to understand how important it is for the country to have a president worthy of our citizens.”

Freedman said she has nothing but admiration for Clinton and how she handled the exit from her campaign.

“It took a lot of guts to make the speech,” she said.

Sullivan said Democrats will have to work hard to help Obama win New Hampshire, considered a swing state.

“New Hampshire is not one of those states that’s a given it will go Democratic next time,” agreed McMahon.

Clinton supporters had mixed feelings about her running with Obama as his vice presidential pick.

“I’ve been mulling it over in my head. I just plain don’t know how I would feel about it. I would like her to be vice president, but it has to be a decision she has to make,” said Freedman.

“I don’t want to even think of what’s best for her,” said McMahon. “She has to figure that out for herself.”

“Personally I say no,” said D’Allesandro. “She will be such a power in the Senate to head up his legislative agenda.”

Sullivan said this could be a year when the vice presidential candidates make a difference.

“I think having her on the ticket would help him win,” she said.

AP-ES-06-07-08 1702EDT


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