Barack Obama would like to remind you of something: He won and she didn't. It's about him now and not her. He has made history, and she is history.
Not that Hillary Clinton admitted to any of that in her nonconcession concession speech Tuesday night, after Obama attained the delegate votes he needs for the Democratic presidential nomination
For someone giving indications she would like to be Obama's running mate, Clinton was surprisingly ungracious. In fact, if you had just awakened from a (blissful) 17-month sleep, you would have thought she had won.
"Because of you, we won together the swing states necessary to get to 270 electoral votes," she told the crowd in New York City. "I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible."
But her fighting words only increased the need for Obama to show that he can be strong, tough and in charge. Clinton's unwillingness to recognize Obama as the victor only increased the need for Obama to act like a president and not like a doormat. And denying her a vice presidential slot may be a way of doing that.
It has been a hard-fought and sometimes bitter campaign, but Obama is not, one of his senior advisers assured me Tuesday night, going to spend a lot of time in the next few months wooing Clinton supporters whose feelings may be hurting.
"I think there are always immediate feelings of disappointment and anger," Anita Dunn said. "But in the months ahead, he must appeal not just to the constituency groups who favored her in the primaries, but those he wants in the general election, and that includes independents and Republicans."
Another Obama adviser, who asked not to be identified, said that he was not worried that Clinton supporters would stay angry.
"Look at how many switched today to Obama," he said. "Look at the Clinton supporters, look at Maxine Waters [the congresswoman from California who endorsed Hillary Clinton in late January but switched to Obama on Tuesday], who were passionate advocates for Hillary, but who switched to Obama."
"At the end of the day," he went on, "Hillary supporters will look at John McCain and decide they are not going to vote for a man who will put judges on the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade."
The easiest way, the Obama campaign has decided, to turn the page away from Clinton is to go at McCain full bore, start the general election campaign immediately and ignore the media chatter about what Hillary does or does not want.
"Now is the appropriate moment to begin the general election discussion," Dunn said. "That is why Sen. Obama chose Minnesota [the site of the Republican convention in September] for his speech."
And while Obama spent a few moments praising Clinton in his speech in St. Paul, he spent most of his time attacking McCain, raising the issue he so effectively used against Clinton: the need for change.
"Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged," Obama said. He used that argument against Clinton, it worked, and now he is going to use it against McCain again and again.
"Obama put his stake in the ground tonight for the general election campaign, just like McCain put his stake in the ground for the general election campaign," a senior Obama adviser told me. "The story will shift to that. Obviously, the vice presidency will be part of the back story, but there is going to be a pretty active general campaign story going on."
McCain did his part by giving a major speech in New Orleans on Tuesday night. "I have a few years on my opponent, so I am surprised that a young man has bought in to so many failed ideas," McCain said. "Like others before him, he seems to think government is the answer to every problem."
But the three speeches Clinton's, McCain's and Obama's showed off one of Obama's great advantages: While McCain was reasoned and detailed, while Clinton had a few good lines, Obama soared.
"Behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us, beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people," he said. "America, this is our moment. This is our time."
It was, after a momentous struggle, Barack Obama's time Tuesday night. And he made sure everybody knew it.