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Clinton strategist predicts delegates will quickly unite behind Obama

DENVER -- Although Hillary Clinton's name will be put in nomination and there will be at least a partial roll call of the states Wednesday night, her top Texas strategist predicted Tuesday that the party will quickly unite behind Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

"We'll all vote for Hillary, there will be a catharsis and then we'll all unite behind Barack Obama," Garry Mauro said after the Texas delegation's breakfast. "In every election there's a winner, and Barack Obama is the winner. So I'm now a Hillary supporter for Barack Obama."

The comments by Mauro, a former Texas land commissioner who has been friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton for more than 35 years, came on the morning before the vanquished Democratic candidate was to address the convention in prime time.

The Clinton and Obama camps cut a deal late Monday, according to The Associated Press, to ensure that supporters of the New York senator have their voices heard, but not at the expense of further dividing the delegates who will be in the Mile High City through Thursday.

"This is the way it's always been," Mauro said. "The second-place candidate's name is always placed in nomination. But once the winning candidate reaches the number of delegates he needs to clinch, they quit voting and call for a nomination by acclamation."

At Tuesday's delegates' breakfast, U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez of San Antonio also called for party unity. And he suggested that it was time for Democrats to direct any disaffection they might harbor toward Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

"Do you really think the American people know John McCain?" Gonzalez said. "His voting record is going to come back to haunt him. ... I want more scrutiny of John McCain. It's going to start happening, and people are going to wake up to who the real John McCain is."

Also speaking to the Texans was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an early Clinton supporter who calls himself an enthusiastic Obama backer.

"We have an opportunity tonight to come together," he said. "Don't think this election is going to be a walk in the park."