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Annette John-Hall: Moving on is hard to do

Annette John-Hall says: Mayor Nutter must have felt that special rush all over again. After all, his intended was back in town this week.

Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigned for Barack Obama in Horsham on Monday. (Bradley C. Bower/AP)
Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigned for Barack Obama in Horsham on Monday. (Bradley C. Bower/AP)Read more

Mayor Nutter must have felt that special rush all over again.

After all, his intended was back in town this week.

I don't mean Lisa, though I'm sure he feels a little something for her, too.

I'm talking about the Woman Who Would Be (Pennsylvania's choice for) President, the scrappy senator sort of from Scranton - Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This time, Clinton wasn't here hurling the kitchen sink at Barack Obama, her onetime arch-rival.

Far from it. She came to Horsham to make the case that he should be president.

"Wherever I go around the country campaigning for Barack . . . I hear people asking each other: 'Well, who are you for?' That's not the right question." (Dramatic pause.) "More importantly, the question is: Who is for you?"

She hadn't lost her touch.

She was still a master of politics and issues, a glaring contrast to Flyers fan favorite (wink, wink) Sarah Palin, the woman presumably selected to win over her voters.

As if women could be swayed by gender alone.

With Clinton facilitating the group therapy, signs of healing were everywhere.

No stubborn supporters in need of anger management.

No evidence of Hillary's (or Bill's) bruised feelings.

Looking renewed and refreshed with fabulous blond highlights, and never one to step on her own applause lines, Clinton soaked in the love as her faithful - many women wearing "Hillary Sent Me" buttons - erupted. So did her main man - not Bill, but the mayor - who beamed like a love-struck beau.

Watching him, I couldn't help but wonder whether Nutter had really moved on, even after bonding with Barack all day Saturday.

Everybody knows it's hard to get over your first love.

Help needed

"I might have to seek some kind of therapy," Nutter said after the draining primary in Pennsylvania.

Surely he must have felt at times that he was suffering from split personality.

After all, it was Nutter who folks constantly compared to Obama. Like Obama, Nutter represented the new black politician who refused to be pigeonholed by a racial agenda. Like Obama, Nutter is bold. Issue-oriented. Consensus-building.

Yet Nutter didn't support his mirror image.

"When you're independent, you get to make independent judgments," he explained. "I want people to be passionate. Just like the folks in Iowa had a right to support Barack Obama, I had the right to support Hillary Clinton."

And, yes, letting go wasn't easy.

"The crazy thing is there's a tremendous psychological letdown after a campaign, whether you win or lose, because you're running on adrenaline the last couple of days. It's over and you just hit a wall," he said.

Not to mention, his candidate didn't win.

"Was I saddened? Sure," the mayor admitted. "I care about her and I'll continue to care about her."

If he needed an intervention - and it sounded like he did - he got one from Obamanation, the 60,000-strong who turned out for the other guy as he barnstormed through North Philly, the Northeast, Germantown and West Philly last weekend.

A whirlwind day that the mayor helped strategize, which surely provided the breakthrough he needed.

"First time that's ever been done in any city," Nutter said with pride. "Look, I was talking about an urban agenda long before the primary. . . . I know Barack Obama knows how to deal with Wall Street and Main Street, but I wanted him to know about 52d Street."

Gov. Rendell, also a fervent Hillary guy, seemed as if he needed therapy himself to peel back a few layers.

But it sounds as if he has resolved some issues on his own.

"The good news is that Hillary and Barack's plans for the country were almost identical."

He's working through the pain, one event at a time.


"So therapy is unnecessary. I think the mayor and I have saved some money."