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Obama, Clinton Near Deal On Roll Call Vote

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are working on a deal to give her some votes in the roll call for the Democratic presidential nomination, but quickly end the divided balloting in unanimous consent for Obama.

Democratic officials involved in the negotiations said Monday the idea is that at the start of the state-by-state vote for the presidential nomination Wednesday night, delegates would cast their votes for Clinton or Obama.

But the voting would be cut off after a couple of states, the officials said, perhaps ending with New York, when Clinton herself would call for unanimous backing for Obama from the convention floor. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity while the deal was being finalized.

Clinton said she has told her delegates she will vote for Obama, but she would not instruct them how to vote.

Many of those delegates, she told reporters Monday, will likely vote for him. Others, she said, "feel an obligation to the people who sent them here that they were elected to represent."

Clinton said part of her job at the convention will be letting those delegates know "that however they decide to vote, we will all be united behind Senator Obama."

"There is no doubt in anyone's mind that this is Barack Obama's convention," she said, adding that it is only natural for there to be some lingering issues to resolve after a tough primary.

"It would have been the same way if I had won and Barack was here supporting the unity of the party," she said. "This was a hard-fought campaign and there was a lot of intensity and passion associated with it, in part because of the historic nature of our two candidacies."

Clinton gives a prime-time convention speech Tuesday night, and the following day will gather her delegates together and publicly release them and urge them to support Obama.

Clinton herself preached unity on Monday in her first appearance at the Democratic National Convention.

Her first stop in Denver was a breakfast meeting for New York Democrats, where supporters waved signs declaring that "Hillary Made History."

Clinton was quick to put Republican John McCain in her sights, saying the GOP nominee was running ads using her words to try to divide the Democrats.

Clinton's response: "I'm Hillary Clinton, and I do not approve that message."

Clinton tried to acknowledge the hard feelings of the primary season while encouraging everyone to move past them.

"We were not all on the same side as Democrats, but we are now," she said. "We are united and we are together and we are determined."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is chairwoman of the convention, acknowledged Monday that Democrats are not yet united following the bitter primary fight, especially among women. She said a "gender gap" in Obama's favor had emerged "even before the convention, and even before the complete reconciliation that we need," she said.

"But to stay wallowing in all of this is not productive," she said. "So we can talk about this forever, or we can talk about how we're going to take our message to the American people, to women all across America, to see the distinctions" between Obama and Republican candidate John McCain.

"Clinton herself has suggested that the party needs a 'cathartic' moment to cleanse any remaining bad blood between the two camps," writes senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "If the Obama can come out of Denver with even a little more enthusiasm from Clinton supporters, it will be a victory." (Read more from Ververs on key things to look for during the convention in Horserace)