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Obama: Campaign proved 'the progress we have made'

  • Story Highlights
  • Hillary Clinton "rocks!" Obama jokingly tells a crowd in Unity, New Hampshire
  • "We are one party; we are one America," Clinton says at rally
  • Sen. Obama appears alongside the New York senator
  • Obama and his wife each give Clinton $2,300 toward her campaign debt
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(CNN) -- They beamed, hugged and praised one another. Their outfits even matched.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, left, and Sen. Barack Obama leave Washington on Friday to fly to New Hampshire for a rally.

Sen. Hillary Clinton introduces her former Democratic rival at a rally in Unity, New Hampshire, Friday.

The long-awaited Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton unity event in Unity, New Hampshire, on Friday was carefully choreographed, with the images and speeches all designed to achieve one goal: returning Democrats to the White House.

Obama and Clinton appeared together in a town where they tied in the January primary.

"We may have started on separate paths ... today our hearts are set on the same destination for America ... to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States," Clinton said.

"We are one party; we are one America," she added.

The two Democrats walked onstage together to U2's song "Beautiful Day" as an enthusiastic crowd chanted: "Yes, we can!"

Large signs reading "Unite For Change" and "UNITY" were held aloft throughout the outdoor rally as an enthusiastic crowd cheered Clinton and Obama. Video Watch Clinton praise Obama at the rally »

Obama praised the New York senator for helping "bring this country a new and better day."

"For 16 months, Sen. Clinton and I have shared the stage as rivals. ... But today, I could not be happier and more honored and more moved that we're sharing the stage," Obama said.

"I've learned from her as a candidate. ... She rocks! She rocks! That's the point I'm trying to make," he joked. Video Watch more of Obama's speech »

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also talked about the tension the two faced during the primary season.

"Now, I don't pretend that one election can erase all the past biases and outdated attitudes that we're still wrestling to overcome. And I know that there have been times over the last 16 months where those biases have emerged," he said. "But I also know that while this campaign has shown us how far we have to go, it has also proven the progress we have made."

Obama referred to the significance of the town's name and its primary, in which he and Clinton each received the same number of votes.

"It is fitting that we meet in a place called Unity, because the truth is, that's the only way we can solve the challenges facing this country. Today, we look back at the votes cast here in the snows of January not as 107 votes for Hillary Clinton and 107 votes for me but as 214 votes for change in America," he said.

Earlier, Clinton took aim at Sen. John McCain's candidacy.

"McCain is simply offering fours years more [of the Bush administration]. ... John McCain and President Bush are like two sides of the same coin, and it doesn't amount to a whole lot of change," she said. "If you think we need a new course ... vote for Barack Obama and get the change we need and deserve." Video Watch Clinton bash McCain »

Obama also criticized McCain's stand on health care.

"You can go with John McCain's plans to do nothing, or you can stand side-by-side with me and Hillary Clinton and finally, once and for all, provide the health care that every American needs," he said.

The former rivals flew together from Washington. They shared a polite kiss on arrival at Reagan National Airport and sat side-by-side on the flight to New Hampshire.

Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe said Friday that her team had been working to drum up support for Obama since Clinton suspended her campaign this month and endorsed Obama.

"We have done this now for three weeks," he said on CNN's "American Morning." "We've done conference calls all over the country to all of our people. 'OK, we tried. We gave it everything we had. Now we need to move forward and support Sen. Obama.' "

Asked about the possibility of an Obama-Clinton ticket, McAuliffe said, "I think if she were on the ticket, I think we honestly ... would control the White House for 16 years. ... But Sen. Obama's got to make that decision himself."

Obama has shied away from any talk of a possible joint ticket, although he's said Clinton "would be on anyone's short list."

"I think we will have a terrific time together in New Hampshire. And I think that she will be very effective all the way through the election," he said Thursday night.

This week, Obama asked top contributors to help Clinton retire her campaign debt of $22 million, about $12 million of which she loaned to her own campaign.

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Obama and his wife, Michelle, each donated $2,300 Thursday to Clinton's campaign, which is millions of dollars in debt That's the maximum an individual can legally donate.

On Friday, Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton, each donated the maximum to Obama's campaign.

CNN's Ed Hornick and Sasha Johnson contributed to this report.

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