ABC News' John Berman and Sunlen Miller report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., asked supporters to give money to Hillary Clinton ... barely. It was supposed to be a moment for Obama to soothe some of the tension that still exists between the two camps. It was supposed to be a chance for Obama to solicit donations to help retire Clinton’s campaign debt, that could total $30 million. It was supposed to be all that. The only problem is, he almost forgot.
He delivered a 32-minute speech to the crowd of 1,000 people at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City, and began walking off the stage to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.” After 32 minutes he had still not asked for money. In the back of the ballroom, reporters rushed campaign aides, asking if there had been a change in plans. Why no pitch for Hillary?
And then, it happened. Obama seemed to realize he was about to fuel the feud-fire by his forgetfulness, and quickly rushed back on stage, saying, “Hold on a second guys, I was getting all carried away!” And then, the pitch: “Sen. Clinton still has some debt. And I could have had some debt if I hadn’t won, so I know the drill. There are many supporters of mine here who have not yet given something to help her retire that debt.”
In fact, estimates are that the Obama camp has only raised about $100,000 to help Clinton so far. So, Obama asked people to look under their chairs for an envelope, “pick it up and put something in it.”
He added, “it’s something that is very important to us, and obviously, Sen. Clinton would be grateful as well.”
Earlier in the speech, Obama noted it had been a long 16-month primary campaign, long enough for babies to be born, and learn to walk and talk. But, he promised, now there will be unity. “Sen. Clinton and I agree on 98.9 percent of the issues -– what I fight for, she fights for, what I believe in, she believes in.”
Of Clinton, he added, “she is smart, she is tough. And she wore me out.” Perhaps the fatigue was affecting his memory.