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Obama And Clinton Unity: Look Who Could Really "Benefit"

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

In political competition, as in other forms of competition, the head and heart send different signals. This is true of the "unity" event tomorrow in New Hampshire between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Both sides know they need to come together--for the good of the Democratic Party, for Obama's 2008 presidential hopes, for Clinton's political future. But that doesn't make it easy after their historic primary smackdown.

Part of coming together involves money, specifically Clinton helping Obama raise money for the general election and Obama helping Clinton retire her primary debt. Both will cooperate, even if grudgingly.

Here's one reason why. Nearly $5-million worth of Clinton's debt involves money owed by her campaign to Mark Penn, the strategist who sought unsuccessfully to derail Obama's presidential bid right up to the end of the primaries. So money that Obama backers send to Clinton will, to a significant extent, go into Penn's pocket.

I reminded an Obama adviser, who has given to Clinton, of that point. The adviser's reply: "Don't make me puke."

Questions? Comments? Write to politicalcapital@cnbc.com.