On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton's top supporters essentially staged an intervention and told her that it was time to get real, admit defeat with at least a minimum amount of grace, congratulate Barack Obama, and endorse him fully and publicly. She essentially responded: well, OK, but not for a few more days.
Here's an exclusive advance transcript of Saturday's Clinton endorsement event:
"Thank you! (cheers) Thank you all! Thank you! Thank you Florida and Michigan, for supporting me and the cause of democracy! (louder cheers) Thank you swing states, for making me the most electable, thank you! (screams about marching to Denver) Thank you Zimbabwe, for warning us what happens when elections are not determined by the will of the people, thank you!
"You know, when I began my wonderful journey 17 months ago, I did so with the confidence that I would achieve the goals that I had set for myself, and I can stand here today and say that I did what I intended to do - which was to finish first in the popular vote count, and thanks to you, I can stand here and say that no one is more popular than I! (chants of "McCain in '08!")
"Now some of you today may be wondering, 'what does Hillary want?' You asked me this in the emails I asked you to send me. I am humbled by all that I have heard about me. I remember the shift worker in Toledo who gripped my hand so many months ago and said to me, 'Hillary, what is it that you want?' Well, I hope she is watching me today, because I want her to hear what an honor it was for me to be accompanied on my wonderful journey by an opponent, Senator Obama, who showed such grit and determination while losing the swing states and the popular vote. I wish to salute him for that (sullen clapping).
"So here we are now in June, a month of so much momentous history, the month when my husband and I won the 1992 Democratic nomination, the month when Robert Kennedy was assassinated, and I believe with all my heart it is only fitting that I now call for party unity, because...excuse me, what? Bill, you wanted to say something?...Bill, this is not the time or place. Bill, don't!"
"Y'all who are watching out there? Shame on you! Shame on y'all! Shame on that scumbag reporter from Vanity Fair! And the whole damn media! This here what's happened is the biggest fairy tale in the whole history of this country, and an insult to me. And I want...hey, put me down! Hillary, where are they taking me?"
"Well, folks, as you can see the president has another pressing engagement. But he and I are so thrilled by all that I will accomplish in the days ahead, working with my opponent, Senator Obama. He is a man of many, many things. I want to say that I wish him well, in those things. And you know, in all my long accomplishments in public life, I understand and respect that when I wish someone well, I am endorsing that person. So thank you! (escalating applause) Thank you all! Thank you, South Dakota! Thank you, Ohio! Thank you, Kentucky! Thank you, Texas, except for the caucuses! Thank you, hardworking white Americans, thank -- "
But seriously, folks: Robert Kennedy died 40 years ago today. I wrote this freelance analysis of his complicated legacy from the vantage point of 2008.