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"Kitchen" Sink Strategy

On the day before the PA primary, Hillary Clinton's campaign unveiled a new ad "Kitchen," which "invokes images of Pearl Harbor and Osama bin Laden" and "questioned" Barack Obama's "ability to lead in a crisis." The Obama campaign "accused her of employing 'the politics of fear.'" Obama did not directly engage her, but his campaign "quickly responded" with an ad of its own that asked voters: "'Who in times of challenge will unite us -- not use fear and calculation to divide us?'" (Zeleny/Broder, New York Times, 4/22). See Clinton's "Kitchen" ad here. (For more on Obama's ad, see todays' OBAMA story). In an interview 4/21 p.m. on CNN's "Larry King Live," Clinton said her ad addressed the reality "that the new president will inherit some of the most dangerous and difficult decisions that any president has had to make in a very long time."

More Clinton, on what to do with FL and MI votes: "We also, don't forget, have to decide how we're going to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan. 2.3 million people voted. I don't want to disenfranchise either of those states. They're also critical to an electoral victory for a Democrat." Clinton, asked how long she plans to stay in the race: "I'm going until we get Florida and Michigan resolved. I'm going until everybody has had a chance to vote in this process. I'm going until the automatic delegates have made their judgments, based on their independent assessments, as to who of us would be better against John McCain in the fall and who would be the best president for our country." CNN's L. King: "If events don't turn your way and you're not the nominee, would you and President Clinton campaign vigorously for Senator Obama?" Clinton: "Without a doubt. We're going to do everything we can to make sure a Democrat is elected president. That is the ultimate goal here, to have a Democrat sworn in next January. We'll have a Democratic nominee. We'll have a unified Democratic Party. I'll work my heart out to make sure that we have a Democratic victory" (CNN, 4/21). Clinton also appeared on "Countdown" last night. Clinton, asked if her ad showing Osama bin Laden is as much of a scare tactic for a Dem to use it against another Dem, as it is for a GOPer to use against a Dem: "Well, first of all, that ad is about leadership. ... But the fact is that the next president will be sworn in at the time of very, very difficult world conditions and, here at home, a lot of challenges. This is one of the most serious elections we have ever had. And, as people zero in on the choice they have to make here in Pennsylvania and around the country in the remaining contests, and then certainly in the fall, I want people to really understand what a serious decision it is. There's nothing at all that is in any way inappropriate in saying, look, presidents face the unexpected all the time." More: "And no Democrat who wants to win in the fall should be surprised. We're going to have to go toe to toe with John McCain on national security. In fact, we're going to have to stand up to whatever the Republicans throw our way. And I do think we ought to get real about some of the big issues that we're going to face in the White House starting next January and certainly during the campaign leading up to the election of the next president."

Plenty Of Cooks In This Kitchen

New York Post's Hurt writes that the "Kitchen" ad is "desperate fear-mongering" that "rolls Lyndon Johnson's 'Daisy' and George H.W. Bush's 'Willie Horton' ads into one, along with a healthy dose of the 'Swift Boat' ads that sank John Kerry. ... Instead of 'Kitchen,' the campaign could have titled it 'Kitchen Sink' - were it not so devious" (4/22). The ad "was reminiscent of the '3 a.m.' ad Clinton ran" before the TX and OH primaries, "which tried to raise doubts about Obama's ability to handle a military crisis" (Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/22). Newsweek's Alter: "I think it's a good way for her to close. She's going back into her strength, which is experience that you can trust her in a crisis because she's already been in the White House -- all of those familiar themes. They haven't won the nomination for her but as they say in Chicago politics, you dance with the one who brung you" ("Verdict," MSNBC, 4/21). MSNBC's Scarborough: "She was invoking Osama bin Laden to scare people, she was saying this is a tough job. It is the toughest job in the world. It comes back to the question of whether Barack Obama is whining. I hear him say over the weekend that Hillary Clinton is running a dirty campaign, a miserable campaign. This is nothing, child's play. A dirty campaign would be turning John Kerry in to a coward in Vietnam. A tough campaign would be saying that John McCain had an illegitimate child. ... It may suggest that he may not have what it takes" ("Race for the WH," 4/21). Air America's Maddow: "I think that the Clinton campaign is different in tone. ... Think of me when you feel afraid, think of me when you think of war, think of me when you think of death. That's been like the kind of Giuliani, McCain, Bush ad trope. That's what you're getting with Hillary Clinton. The things she wants you to be afraid of are different than what the Republicans want you to be afraid of. ... That's still going to read to a lot of people as essentially a Republican ad. Doesn't mean it won't be effective, but I think will aggravate some Democrats" ("Race for the WH," MSNBC, 4/21). Clinton supporter/Philly Mayor Michael Nutter (D): "It's a great ad. It's telling the truth. It is right down the middle. It is a tough job, and you need to be prepared, as the senator says, on day one. It's a very serious position. ... I think the senator hit it right on the head" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 4/21). PA Gov. Ed Rendell (D), reacting to comments that Clinton's new ad in PA is using the same "fear tactics" Pres. Bush used in '04: "I think that's is silly. I think the ad isn't negative, it's positive. It stresses Senator Clinton's experience both in the white house working with her husband and as a senator who worked as a key member of the military Armed Services committee. I think it is a positive ad saying, look, in these times we need someone who is ready" ("American Morning," CNN, 4/22). Bill Richardson, on who is more qualified to handle foreign policy decisions: "I think Senator Clinton is experienced, but Obama has got the qualities of terrific judgment, values, the ability to bring people together, the ability to have an internationalist image based on his background, the ability to send the message to the world that America is changing its foreign policy towards being more open" ("American Morning," CNN, 4/22). Also, Clinton joined the other WH '08ers in taping an appearance for World Wrestling Entertainment. See today's GENERAL FIELD story for more.

There's No Place Like Your Grandfather's Home

In her final Scranton appearance before the PA primary, Clinton "likened" Obama to Pres. Bush, "portrayed herself as better qualified to be president and "emphasized her family's local ties." She also "needled" Obama with his "Yes, We Can" slogan. Clinton: "Some people say 'Yes, we can,' but that doesn't mean we will. I believe we will if we have the right leadership. If you stand with me, I will go to the White House and fight for you every single day." The crowd "serenaded her with chants of 'Madame president' and 'one day to victory'" (Krawczeniuk, Scranton Times-Tribune, 4/22). Later, joined by her husband and daughter, Clinton "wrapped up" her final PA push at a "passionate rally at the packed and sweltering Palestra" basketball arena. Clinton, to some 7K supporters: "This has been an extraordinary campaign, and it has been for all the right reasons" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/22).

With Friends Like These

Asked why she accepted the endorsement of Richard Mellon Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review this weekend: "I was dumbfounded, both to have been invited, and then to have been endorsed. But I do believe in redemption. I believe in deathbed conversions. And I think it's possible for anyone to see the error of their ways. So, I'm bringing people together as we speak. Anyone who doubts my ability to bridge the most incredible chasms can point to those recent events" (MSNBC, 4/21).

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Clinton, asked if she agrees with people who say she should leave the race if she wins PA by less than 5% of the votes: "Well, I sure don't. A win is a win. But, again, I think this is such a close race. And neither of us has the delegates we need to get the nomination. We've got nine more contests after Pennsylvania, some very important states that are still up to bat. And I think we're going to go all the way through this process and see where we stand in June. ... You know, they say that the path to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania. And if I'm fortunate enough to win tomorrow, that will be yet another state that I have won in, being outspent dramatically by my opponent, and have been able to put together the coalition that is really going to be the base of our campaign against John McCain in the fall" ("LKL," CNN, 4/21). Clinton's campaign "is trying to keep expectations" for today's PA primary "manageable for fear of a surprise showing by" Obama (Youngman, The Hill, 4/21). Although, Slate's Dickerson writes, the Clinton campaign "seems confident about the outcome" 4/22. "Usually campaign aides downplay their candidate's chances so that a win seems all that much more wonderful. But this time, the candidate and her aides are letting on that they're confident, which means they think they're not just going to win, but win by a margin large enough so that they won't have to spend" 4/23 "insisting on its magnitude." "She may win, but Obama may show that he's made in-roads with blue collar voters. ... Obama's bad two weeks puts more pressure on Clinton, in a way, to really rack up the vote totals. On the other hand, Obama has vastly outspent Clinton" in PA. "If he can't put her away ... it might suggest these are fundamental liabilities for him, as the Clinton team has been reiterating for all these weeks. Every other state so far has failed to deal the definitive blow that would end this race. Why should Pennsylvania be any different?" (4/21). "Even factoring in a 3- to 8-point victory," Clinton "isn't likely to seriously cut into Obama's lead in the two counts that matter most -- his 1,450-to-1,251 lead among a target of 2,025 delegates," or his 800K-vote margin in the popular vote nationally. "And that could render her victory here practically moot, prompt an avalanche of defecting superdelegates, dry up fundraising sources -- and turn up the pressure on her to quit" (Thrush, Newsday, 4/21). Both Clinton and Obama "likely have been scarred politically -- he among working-class whites, she among voters who call her dishonest. But it's Clinton who has the stronger challenge, needing to overcome Obama" (Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers, 4/22). "It might look like Clinton's umpteenth must-win primary, but today's vote could be her last best shot at overtaking Obama," (Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/22). MSNBC's Matthews: "I think a lot of her vote is anti-Barack, definitely more cautious, more conservative. ... I think eight points is the over-under. If she gets a victory of less than eight, I think she's going to have a hard time arguing that she should stay in this race" ("Verdict," 4/21). Newsweek's Wolffe: "For the Clinton campaign to substantially close the delegate gap, they really need to win by about 20 points or more. That's unlikely to happen. This is, at this stage, about delegates because expectations aren't important so much any more" ("Countdown," MSNBC, 4/21). MSNBC's Scarborough: "Hillary Clinton is in a no-win situation right now because a lot of the op-ed writers, who are going to frame who won and lost, are cheering for Barack Obama. If she wins by five percent, six percent, seven percentage points, they'll say she should have won by double digits. If she wins by double digits, they'll say, well, she was expected to win by double digits" ("Race for the WH," 4/21). Air America's Maddow: "I think that even if Hillary Clinton only wins win by one vote, she's staying in. ... I think she's been willing to fight through a lot more than that thus far. And I think we can expect to be back in exactly the same place the day after tomorrow, talking about a race looking exactly the same way, with just as many undecided superdelegates and no clear path to the nomination for Senator Clinton, but also no clear off ramp for her out of the race" ("Race for the WH," MSNBC, 4/21). Newt Gingrich: "I personally think the odds are pretty good that she'll be at 6 percent or 7 percent. ... And it's a double-digit victory, then I think she has a really strong case for going all the way to the convention" ("On the Record," FNC, 4/21). Dick Morris: "No matter how you slice it, Hillary is going to go into that convention triple digits behind Obama in elected delegates, and that's going to make all the difference in the world. If Hillary gets a new lease on life tomorrow, it's a two-week lease" ("Hannity & Colmes," FNC, 4/21). Ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA): "In spite of the fact she's being outspent, this state is going to come home for Hillary. And I think it's going to be a 10 point or more win" ("O'Reilly Factor," FNC, 4/21). NBC's Todd: "If it's right at 5 or 6, there's going to be the heck of a spin war between the two campaigns to try to lay claim to victory or defeat. But I think the bottom line here for Clinton is that there's a number to keep going and then there's a number to actually start changing the dynamic of the race where she could actually get the nomination. So there's two different numbers. Some sort of mid to high single digit victory is certainly enough for her to keep going. ... If she gets the double-digit victory, if she gets into that 10, 11, 12, 13-point area, well, then, suddenly, she can start talking about game-changer type of thing" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 4/21). Clinton supporter/Philly Mayor Michael Nutter (D): "When you win, you win. And Senator Clinton's in this to stay. She's demonstrated the ability to win big states and certainly the critical states that Democrats have to win in November in order to be successful" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 4/21). Clinton chair Terry McAuliffe: "You win the state, you win the state" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 4/22). CNN's Crowley, on who Clinton is courting in PA: "This is not just about reeling in Pennsylvania voters. She ought to do pretty well tomorrow. This is about those superdelegates, because they understand coming out of here inside the Clinton campaign that they're not going to be ahead in the popular vote. They're not going to be ahead in the pledged delegate vote and that in the end this is still going to be about the superdelegates. So this is about voters and this is about those superdelegates" ("Election Center," 4/21). CNN's Snow, on whether the Pittsburg Tribune-Review's endorsement of Clinton will help her in PA: "[It's] not really seen as helping her much because conservatives won't be going out on the Democratic primary. As people point out, she needs all the help she can get and she'll take it" ("Situation Room," 4/21). Time's Halperin, on whether Clinton's argument that winning the big states proves she is more electable is valid: "I think it's her strongest argument. As much money as Senator Obama has, as inspirational as he's been, as great a campaign he's run, he's not been able to beat her in most of the big state primaries. The question is begged, why not?" ("American Morning," CNN, 4/22).

Mind The Gap

The financial gap between Obama and Clinton "has grown increasingly pronounced," and the Clinton campaign "is now shouldering sizable debts to several key consultants and advisers," records show. Clinton entered 4/08 with about $9.3M in CoH, but she also carried about $10.3M in debt. In contrast, Obama had $42.5M available to spend 4/1 and reported $663K in unpaid bills. Clinton strategists "confirmed" 4/21 "that the disparity allowed Obama to overwhelm her w/TV ads in PA. Clinton's volunteer fundraisers "acknowledged" 4/21 that they are stretching to find untapped sources, and that they increasingly have relied on the Internet, which finance co-chairman Hassan Nemazee called a "highly volatile" place to get cash. FEC reports show "how difficult the road could become if the Internet cannot produce a steady stream of donations." While debt owed to the firm run by the campaign's recently deposed top strategist, Mark Penn, "began to accumulate a year ago," with $277,147 reported in 4/07, his tab grew to $4.6M by 3/31. Adviser Mandy Grunwald's consulting firm began extending services to Clinton's campaign more than a year ago, and is now owed $528,480. The campaign owes MSHC Partners, a mail and microtargeting firm, nearly $1 million. And for three months the campaign owed $240K to senior adviser Harold Ickes' database firm, Catalist (Mosk, Washington Post, 4/22). Most IL Dems "have fallen in line behind" Obama. But there's at least one prominent IL Dem "who appears to prefer" Clinton -- '04 Dem SEN candidate Blair Hull, a wealthy Chicago financier. Hull was leading in the '04 polls "until it emerged that Hull's second wife had filed for an order of protection against him during their divorce proceedings and had alleged that Hull physically abused her and threatened to kill her." The revelations "destroyed his campaign, and Obama went on to win the primary easily and cruise through the 11/04 election. New FEC reports show Hull's "still-extant" SEN campaign made two $2,300 donations to Clinton's WH camp in 1stQ of '08. "It's the only donation to any candidate Hull's cmte has made this cycle, though it did still have $164K in CoH on 3/31. Clinton's report says "Refund in Part Next Period" below Hull's donations, "though it's not clear why she'd be giving any of the money back since Hull did not exceed the legal limits." It could be because, separate from his Senate cmte contribs, Hull also gave $4,600 to Clinton "out of his own pocket" in 2/08 (Pershing, "Capitol Briefing,", 4/22).

Dreams Deferred

Boston Globe's Canellos writes that Clinton "missed a chance" to transform the dynamics of the race, and she didn't take it." It came during the 4/16 debate where ABC's Charlie Gibson asked both Clinton and Obama if they would commit to name each other as their running mate. "If Clinton had accepted Gibson's offer, the political dialogue this week and beyond would be quite different, focused more on dream tickets than nightmare scenarios; and the prime beneficiary, on so many levels, would have been Hillary Clinton" (4/22).

Brassy Knoll

In Pittsburgh, the act of introducing B. Clinton "set off a small storm" when Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (D) and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato (D) -- both prominent Clinton backers -- "took the stage and began their introductions of the former president. They overlooked another prominent Clinton supporter on the stage," LG Catherine Baker Knoll, who "wrested the microphone" from Onorato and "let fly with a complaint picked up over the loudspeaker." As Clinton "mounted the steps to the stage," Knoll said: "They never recognize the lieutenant governor. These two men can't stand women. You know what? I have loafed with this president and with Hillary and their beautiful daughter Chelsea for 25 years. That's long before he was the governor -- that's governor of Arkansas." She later said she apparently had been overlooked for introductions by a campaign staffer. Knoll: "It wasn't their fault. It was the guy in the back room. He doesn't know yet who I am. They forgot" (Roddy/Mauriello/Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/22).

Where There's A Bill ...

B. Clinton did an interview was with WHYY radio in Philly. He's asked about his comment on the morning of the SC primary, in which some said he tried to diminish Obama's victory by pointing to Jesse Jackson's win. Clinton, asked if it was a mistake, says: "No. I think they played the race card on me." More: Interviewer: on the Jackson comment: "Do you think that was a mistake, and would you do that again?" Clinton: "No. I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know, from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it along. Jesse Jackson - I said, if you go back to what I said ... First of all, there was a conversation that I engaged in that included two African America members of Congress, who were standing right there, who were having the conversation with me. And I said that Jesse Jackson had won a good campaign with overwhelming African American support and white supporters. And this was started off because people didn't wanna - they wanted to act like, for reasons I didn't understand, that Senator Obama didn't have this African American support, or they thought his white support was better because Jesse Jackson had blue-collar working people, and most of Senator Obama's support were upscale, cultural liberals. So it was like beneath them to be compared to Jesse Jackson." "I respect Jesse Jackson. He's a friend of mine, even though he endorsed Senator Obama. One of his sons and his wife endorsed Hillary. Their whole famly's divided. But his campaign in 1988 was a seminal campaign in American history. It was the first campaign to ever to openly involve gays. Hillary's chief delegate counter, Harold Ickes, worked his heart out for Jesse Jackson. I frankly thought the way Obama campaign reacted was disrespectful to Jesse Jackson. And I called him and asked him if he found anything offensive, and he just laughed and he said, 'Of course I don't. We all know what's going on.' "I mean this is just, you know -- You gotta go something to play the race card on me - my office is in Harlem. And Harlem voted for Hillary, by the way. And I have 1.4 million people around the world, mostly people of color in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and elsewhere, on the world's least expensive AIDS drugs. I appointed more African American, Hispanic and women judges and U.S. Attorneys than all previous presidents put together and had nine African American Cabinet members." "I was stating a fact. And it is still a fact. You know, I was amazed that we got almost 20 percent of the African American vote in South Carolina, and I think it was because we had so many local officials who believed in Hillary and stuck their necks out for her, some of which were threatened with their jobs. But I can see that this used against me, but this was a conversation that occurred early in the morning. We didn't even know what the vote was gonna be at the time. We were all sitting around drinking coffee. We'd just been to breakfast. We were talking about South Carolina political history. And this was used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama campaign to try to breed resentment elsewhere." "And, you know, do I regret saying it? No. Do I regret that it was used that way? I certainly do. But you really gotta go something to try to portray me as a racist." Interviewer: "OK. Well thank you very much, Mr. President." Clinton: "Thank you. I hope everybody will go out to vote tomorrow. Buh-bye. ... I don't think I can take any shit from anybody on that, do you?" (4/21). Meanwhile, Bloomberg's Woellert writes, B. Clinton "could well be running against his wife instead of stumping for her. The couple's differences, and his frequent blowups on the campaign trail, though, haven't hurt much with her supporters." As the campaign heads into the PA primary, "he still manages to excite voters in rural areas and small towns where she has her best chance for victory over" Obama (4/22).

Morning Glory

Taped interviews with Clinton were featured on the a.m. shows. Clinton, asked what she needs from the PA results: "I don't have to have anything except a win. ... Because if Senator Obama, with all the money he is spending, far outspending me and, frankly, a lot of negativity coming from his campaign." CBS' Smith: "None from you?" Clinton: "Well, I'm not running around saying I'm the world's most positive human being. I'm running around saying I'm a problem solver" ("Early Show," CBS, 4/22). Asked how Obama can beat McCain if he can't win big states: "Well, he can, but I think it's harder. I think that I will, because I believe I am better positioned." On whether her going to the convo is good or bad for Dems: "It would be a real convention, unlike what we've had for recent conventions where the decisions were already known before people ever showed up. This would be why you elect delegates. We'd come out with a nominee with a unified party and take off from there" ("GMA," ABC, 4/22). NBC's Curry: "If you win by one point or if you don't win, would you stay in the race?" Clinton: "We'll see what happens." Curry: "You're saying that's possible?" Clinton: "Instead of speculating, I'll actually see what happens" ("Today," NBC, 4/22).

Where There's A Bill, Part 2

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Clinton's "top supporter" in FL, "says if she manages only a 'narrow win'" in PA, "probably that means it's over" for her WH bid. If Clinton manages a "good-sized win -- seven percent or more -- "she's going all the way to the convention." Nelson: "She starts having momentum and the superdelegates will decide the issue." If Clinton doesn't get the big win, will Nelson advise her it's time to quit? Nelson: "Instead of me dealing with a hypothetical, let's see what the answer is" (March, Tampa Tribune, 4/22).

Courting The Traficant Vote

UFO researchers say HRC "knows whether extraterrestrials have contacted Earth, and they want her to come clean about it." Clinton "has been aware of the 'extraterrestrial presence issue' since '93 when her husband was president, according to Stephen Bassett, lobbyist and director of the Paradigm Research Group, an organization that focuses on UFO "exopolitics." Bassett, at a news conference wrapping up a weekend "X-Conference" in MD: "She is connected to this issue and there is nothing she can do about it." On the day before the PA primary, "Clinton's campaign did not return a call regarding her knowledge of E.T.s on earth" (Spivey, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/22).

This article appears in the April 22, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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