Before a crowd made up largely of liberal women, Malcolm encouraged the crowd to support the Democratic ticket, prompting a cheer when she noted that both Barack Obama and Joe Biden are pro-choice. The crowd really got going, however, when she mentioned another Democrat who's been making headlines at the Democratic National Convention this week.
"Hillary," Malcolm said loudly, "you make us proud."
Clinton came to the podium about a half hour later, to a rapturous welcome from the crowd. The New York senator noted that today is the anniversary of the day when women were given the right to vote, saying, "there could not be a better day to celebrate the power of the women's vote."
Clinton urged the crowd to support the Democratic ticket.
"Barack and Joe will champion the issues we care about," she said, telling the crowd "they will stand with us and they will fight for us."
She also targeted presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.
"He still doesn't believe that women deserve equal pay for equal work," Clinton said. "He doesn't believe that women deserve the right to choose. He would turn the clock back, and what we need from our president is forward movement."
"The choice facing women in this election could not be clearer," Clinton added. "The stakes could not be higher." She urged her supporters to "work as hard for Barack Obama as you did for me in the next months. "
The former first lady left the stage soon after, saying she had to work on the speech she will be giving at the Pepsi Center later tonight.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke a few minutes later.
"Are we ready for victory?," Pelosi asked the crowd at the outset of her remarks. "Are we ready for unity?"
Pelosi spoke kindly of Clinton, calling her "just magnificent."
"Our party, and our country, were greatly strengthened by her candidacy," she said. "Thank you, Hillary Clinton."
Pelosi, who was one of the few Democrats to target McCain last night, again took shots at him today, saying he has the wrong position on health care, the war in Iraq, and the economy.
"The next time we meet, we will be celebrating the election of a Democratic president," she said, adding: "Let's go out and elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden."
The gala closed with an address from Michelle Obama, who last night delivered the keynote address at the Democratic convention to largely positive reviews. Obama seemed relaxed in front of a crowd that greeted her warmly and spoke highly of Clinton, saying "no one has been more gracious" to her over the past few months.
"She changed the perception forever, got rid of the notion that no longer could a woman be president," Obama said to loud cheers. "That is over – those days are gone."
"In two days – two more days – we're going to make a little more history," she added.