From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- During the annual North Carolina Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Dinner tonight, Hillary Clinton said she will not only back Barack Obama if he is the party’s nominee, she will work hard for him.
“If Senator Obama is the nominee, you better believe I’ll work my heart out for him,” Clinton said.
The comment seemed to backfire, as the large Obama presence began chanting his name, "causing Clinton to pause and try to regain control of the podium and talk over the chants.
She immediately followed up saying if she is the nominee, Obama “will do the very same for me.” It is unclear if that line was part of her original speech or if she used it as a way to bounce back from the interruption.
The crowd of 5,200 people seemed relatively split between Clinton and Obama supporters, but Obama’s crowd was certainly more vocal. At one point Clinton thanked Gov. Mike Easley, D-N.C., for his recent endorsement, which drew loud jeers from the Obama section. The "boos" went on long enough for Clinton to, again, have to pause. She said, “One of the great things about our country, you can support whoever you want to support, that’s the way America works best,” which drew loud cheers from her supporters.
This has been one of the most audibly divided Jefferson-Jackson Dinners to date. The fund-raising dinners are held annually by the Democratic Party of each state, but in previous ones, the crowds have been slightly more respectful of each candidate.
Clinton spoke broadly of the differences between Democrats and Republicans in the coming election. She reassured the crowd that if she is elected, she will not back down to a fight. "I am no shrinking violet. When I say I will stand up for you I will stand up for you!"