DENVER — In a bittersweet gathering, Sen. Hillary Clinton this afternoon formally released her convention delegates, even though most had already voted for her.
Clinton spoke to more than 2,000 people, mostly delegates, at the Colorado Convention Center. She urged them to vote for their party in November, but rarely invoked the name Barack Obama.
Clinton delegates have had at times an uneasy truce with Obama's campaign. Some worried their votes for her would not be counted.
"We've been cooperating and discussing how to have a unified convention with the Obama campaign," she said. "And I think we're off to a real good start."
When Clinton walked to the podium at around 1:50 p.m., she was met with chants of "Hill-a-ry, Hill-a-ry."
"We love you Hillary," some shouted.
When she announced her intention to release delegates to vote the way they pleased, she was met with shouts of "No!"
Frequently interrupted by cheers, she told delegates she'd signed her ballot for Obama that morning. Most delegates voted at their state delegation breakfasts.
"It was almost like a goodbye but not a goodbye," said delegate Barbara Sharpe of Concord. "My thing is, I think Obama can be a good president. The difference is, I know Hillary Clinton would be a good president."
Clinton delegate Marc Friedland of Charlotte said party unity is up to Obama.
"Any disunity that might be there is on the shoulders of Barack Obama," he said. But, he added, he'll still vote Democratic in November.
"You don't always get the leader you want," he said, "but you get the party you want."