Last night, she knitted together soaring rhetoric from an acceptance speech as presidential nominee, some attack-dog sound bites expected of a running mate and finally a plea for party unity behind Barack Obama.
But behind the virtuoso performance was the impression that the former First Lady's heart still belongs, less to her passionately professed love of Democratic Party ideals, than to the doomed candidacy that brought her thisclose to making history.
The emphasis on mothers, daughters and granddaughters only deepened the sense that Hillary Clinton still sees her loss not as the failure of a flawed campaign based on a glaring sense of entitlement but as a blow against womankind.
With the unspoken premise of Obama's victory as an insult to an entire gender, Clinton gave him full-throated support as a generic candidate but failed to offset with specificity a whole season of her attacks on him as inexperienced and unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.
Despite the burblings of Keith Olbermann and other cable pundits about the speech as "a grand slam," it looked more like a safety squeeze to score without risk or all-out effort.