Early on in last night's forum in Philadelphia, Rachel presented Hillary Clinton with the lay of the land in the Democratic presidential race, specifically as it relates to elusive party unity. Bernie Sanders, Rachel noted, "seems to be saying now that even if you beat him in the primary, it's not necessarily a given that he will implore all of his supporters to go out and work for you. He says that he thinks that they'll support you if basically you adopt some of his platform on the issues that are most important to him."
Asked if the senator's approach makes sense or if it's a bridge too far, Clinton noted her advantages -- more pledged delegates, more raw popular votes, etc. -- before pointing to what she sees as the ideal model.
"Let's look at what happened in 2008, because that's the closest example. Then-Senator Obama and I ran a really hard race. It was so much closer than the race right now between me and Senator Sanders. We had pretty much the same amount of popular votes. By some measures I had slightly more popular votes, he had slightly more pledged delegates.
"We got to the end in June and I did not put down conditions. I didn't say, 'You know what, if Senator Obama does x, y and z, maybe I'll support him.' I said, 'I am supporting Senator Obama, because no matter what our differences might be, they pale in comparison to the differences between us and the Republicans.' That's what I did.
"At that time 40 percent of my supporters said they would not support him. So from the time I withdrew, until the time I nominated him -- I nominated him at the [Democratic National Convention] in Denver -- I spent an enormous amount of time convincing my supporters to support him. And I'm happy to say the vast majority did. That is what I think one does. That is certainly what I did and I hope that we will see the same this year."
Clinton's version of events has the benefit of being true. By some measures, she fought longer than was absolutely necessary in 2008, and urged superdelegates to consider putting her over the top even after she came up short on pledged delegates, but after exhausting her alternatives, Clinton really did go all out for her Democratic rival.