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An Opening On The Debate Team

Hillary Clinton, speaking in Indianapolis 4/23, "cast herself as the underdog" and "pleaded for contributions." Clinton touted her economic plans and "solicited campaign donations from the crowd of Hoosiers, saying their help is needed to fund her campaign and carry her to a win" in the 5/6 primary.

At the Indianapolis rally, she also "pressed for a showdown" with Barack Obama, drawing one of the largest roars from the crowd when she proclaimed she "would love to have a debate here in Indiana." Clinton has accepted an invitation from the IN Debate Comms, while the Obama campaign continues to consider the offer.


For his part, Clinton supporter/Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) "tried to put the pressure on Obama" 4/23. Bayh "said Hoosiers would be disappointed if Obama does not agree to a debate" because they "like people who are willing to stand up, take the heat, answer the questions, come before us and show us what they've got" (Ruthhart, Indianapolis Star, 4/24).

Obama Supports Need Not Apply

Also in Indianapolis, Hillary said: "This campaign for me in Indiana is about jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs. That's what I believe the central issue is. The economy is not working for hard-working Americans." More: "This is not about speeches. It is about solutions" (Indianapolis Star, 4/24).

A senior Clinton aide said that she would tailor her message in IN "to appeal to lower-income workers in the cities and to voters in rural areas and small towns." The aide "said Clinton would continue to raise questions about Obama's readiness to face" economic and national security challenges. The aide "did not rule out running some version of an advertisement that the campaign ran in the final days" of the PA "race showing images of the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Osama bin Laden."


Clinton has two ads on the air in IN, both focusing on trade and the loss of jobs. Her campaign is also circulating fliers in IN criticizing Obama's health care plan (Zeleny/Broder, New York Times, 4/24).

Tide: Stain Removal

"Heading" into the PA primary, Clinton's "campaign appeared to running on fumes financially with more debt than cash on hand, but, by" yesterday afternoon," campaign officials were boasting they were 'on track' to raise" $10M in the 24 hours since the race was called in her favor. That "staggering figure was combined with Clinton's message of the day -- 'the tide is turning.'"

Meanwhile, the Clinton camp "was scrambling to milk the jump in contributions, transforming its home page to a donation page, something it had experimented with for several days last month with great success" (Zeleny/Broder, New York Times, 4/24).

MSNBC's N. O'Donnell, on Clinton raising $10M online in 24 hours: "That would shatter all records, even Obama style records" ("Verdict," 4/23).


Clinton supporter/ex-WH special counsel Lanny Davis: "What America did on Tuesday night ... is to shout to the pundits, to the Obama campaign, to Senator Patrick Leahy, don't talk about somebody being forced out of this race. ... We, the American people, are not ready for this contest to end and they spoke with their pocketbooks by sending in $10 million in less than 24 hours" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 4/24).

Penn Would Have Done It In Power Point

Trying to "capitalize" on her PA victory, Clinton "moved quickly to win over superdelegates" 4/23 by dispatching top adviser Harold Ickes "to Congress armed with special, national electoral maps highlighting her advantages" over Obama. Ickes "arrived at the meeting with a group of congressional supporters and superdelegates armed with two pages of maps titled, 'Obama's Red State Myth.'"

Including MI and FL, the maps "showed the states Obama has won and the states Clinton has won, giving her victories in battlegrounds with more Electoral College votes -- 284 to his 202." The map listed 11 states Obama won that haven't voted for a Dem "in a general election in the last 30 to 40 years - --uggesting they don't matter because they can't be won by the party this November. The talking points distributed to meeting participants by Ickes showed Clinton's wins in traditionally Dem blue states and "purple" swing states give her a "clear path to victory in November," since just two of her states, TX and OH, routinely lean toward the GOP (Retter/Haberman, New York Post, 4/24).

Fuzzy Math

Clinton "will make her pitch to the uncommitted superdelegates using her own math: her popular-vote count," including MI and FL; "her lead among the other superdelegates; and her success in winning primaries in six of the country's seven largest states" (Kronholz, Wall Street Journal, 4/24). Meanwhile, media accounts take exception with her claim that she now leads the overall popular vote count:

• Roll Call's Rothenberg writes, What Clinton "really needs, of course, is national survey data and key state polling showing she can beat" John McCain but Obama can't. "At this point, those numbers don't exist, and that is a problem for Clinton" (4/24).

• Her PA "win has bought her time -- but not much -- to make her case to" Dem superdelegates, many of whom expressed a "strong desire" 4/23 to end the nominating contest once the final votes are cast" (Hook/Barabak/Gohmann, Los Angeles Times, 4/24).

• She won PA, yet few Dems "important to her nomination seem to much care," including superdelegates such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore (Lochhead, San Fransico Chronicle, 4/24).

• New York Times' Collins writes, Although Obama "has seemed way off his game lately, the odds are still really, really good that he'll get the nomination" (4/24).

• Huffington Post's Sekoff: "It's going to take a lot more than a turning tide. It's going to take an asteroid falling out of the sky and landing on Barack Obama. ... That's what Hillary Clinton is staying in the game for. She's hoping to use the word of the day that he 'obliterates' himself with some mistake. ... She's hanging in there waiting for him to step on a land mine but I just don't thing it's going to happen" ("Verdict," MSNBC, 4/23).

The Road Ahead

NBC's Todd: "If they want a game changer, if Hillary Clinton wants to be the nominee, she has to beat him in his territory. She has to create this idea that he really is collapsing, that something is wrong with his candidacy -- that means winning North Carolina. ... They're not ceding the idea that they're going not to compete there but they're ceding the idea that they can win there. Look, this thing is over if they don't win North Carolina" ("Countdown," MSNBC, 4/23).

More Todd: "When you look at the new math that the Clinton campaign is using, they need popular vote. Well, North Carolina is not just some small state that Obama might win. It's a top ten population state, a very big state. Every gain that Hillary Clinton made in Pennsylvania in the popular vote ... she could lose all of it in North Carolina in one vote. So, while she might be in Indiana and she may look at it as a great, potential new place for her to win, North Carolina could end up making things moot no matter what happens in Indiana" ("Today," 4/24).

CNN's Toobin: "She can win Indiana. But then what? I mean, that's just not enough to catch up in the pledged delegates. And I don't think there's any way in the world the superdelegates are going to overturn the pledged delegates. So, I just don't see what her endgame is, barring a disaster" ("AC 360," 4/23).

Carl Bernstein: "Indiana is very interesting, because people have not fastened on the fact that she ran Jimmy Carter's campaign in 1976 in Indiana. And she brought him within five points of winning Indiana. She knows the place. It's next door to where she grew up" ("AC 360," CNN, 4/23).

We Come Bearing Gifts

Rep. John Tanner (D-TN) on 4/23 endorsed HRC, "giving Clinton a coveted superdelegate that will likely determine the party's nomination." Tanner "said Clinton is the best candidate for the White House at a time when 'nothing less than our financial liberty and economic freedom are at stake.'" Tanner, in a statement: "Now, more than ever, our nation needs a leader like Sen. Clinton who can work with others to return to fiscal sanity" (Rodgers, Nashville City Paper, 4/23).

Also on 4/23, "Montana for Hillary" announced the endorsements of 7 more MT legislators, leaders and activists, "demonstrating" Clinton's "growing support throughout" MT. Newly endorsing Clinton: State Sen. Ken Hansen, State Reps. Norma Bixby, Julie French and Veronica Smalls Eastman, ex-State Reps. Angela Russell and Bob Gervais, and Dem activist Julia Doney (release, 4/23).

Stay Put, Guys

In a sign that the Clinton camp is "worried about more superdelegates endorsing" Obama, Sen. Evan Bayh is pressing "his state's House members to delay endorsing, rather than lobbying them to come out in favor" of Clinton. Bayh: "Why should they get crosswise with some of their friends if they really don't need to" (Kleefeld, TPM, 4/24).

And speaking of Bayh, he was in the "Situation Room" last night.

Bayh, asked if he can guarantee that Clinton will win in IN: "Well, there are no guarantees in life, let alone politics. This is going to be a very close, hard-fought election. I think, at the end of the day, though, our Hoosier common sense, our focus on getting the job done, particularly in the economy, job creation, health care costs, pension security, those kind of bread-and-butter issues will lead people to look favorably on Senator Clinton. But it's going to be very close, because, as you know, Senator Obama is from next door, so he has a little bit of a home field advantage."

Asked if negative ads work in Midwest states like IN: "Well, no, not if they're perceived to be unfair or personal, or that kind of thing. But an honest comparison of differences of opinion or accentuating the positive attributes of one candidate vis-a-vis another, I think that's all fair game."

Asked how worried he is that Obama has more money on hand to deal with advertisements in IN: "Well, it's an advantage. Any time you have a gifted, you know, formidable candidate -- and Barack is surely that -- and in a position to outspend his opponent three or four to one, that's a big advantage. But I was heartened to see that [Clinton] apparently has raised significant resources since last evening on her Web site, with 60,000 contributors stepping up, asking her to continue to take her message to the people of Indiana and the rest of the country. And so, even though she will surely be outspent, I'm hopeful she will have the resources to get her message out about where she wants to lead our country."

CNN's Blitzer: "Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, delivered for Hillary Clinton. The pressure, senator, is now on you to deliver Indiana. Can you do it?"

Bayh: "I'm going to do my dead-level best, Wolf, and I think at the end of the day, though, she is the one who will shine in our state. It's going to be very close. It could go either way. But I think she's got a good chance" (CNN, 4/23).

Gray Lady Lay

Newsweek's Fineman, on the New York Times editorial: "I don't think they were in Pennsylvania when they wrote that editorial. In fact, it did work on a lot of the late deciders who went for Clinton partly on the strength of those negative ads and attacks that Clinton carried out. ... Hillary Clinton has nothing to lose. She has a negative rating that's about 50 percent. She wants to win on any terms she can win on and she's going to keep on keeping on. And if you think you've seen mean and vacuous so far, you ain't seen nothing yet" ("Countdown," MSNBC, 4/23).

Air America's Maddow: "I think that the New York Times has about as much chance of shutting down negative tactics in this campaign as Howard Dean does of pushing one of the candidates out of the race. It's just not going to happen" ("Race for the WH," MSNBC, 4/23).

Clinton chair Terry McAuliffe: "Sometimes, you know, you wonder where these editorial writers come from. ... I don't see it that way. The Obama campaign has been tough on Hillary. They have been tough on her character. They have been tough on her policies. In Ohio they put out misleading leaflets. ... They must have been in that little bunker with Dick Cheney, the editorial writers, because if had you been in Pennsylvania for the last six weeks and turned on your television set and had seen the negative ads against Hillary Clinton, as well as the mailings, you would not say what they said today" ("Hannity & Colmes," FNC, 4/23).

More McAuliffe: "The Washington Post front page today, reported that the Obama campaign said they're ratcheting up the negative attacks on Hillary."

CNN's Brown: "They denied that report, by the way."

McAuliffe: "Fine. Front page story. You can deny the New York Times, whatever. They threw the kitchen sink. They threw the garage sink. They three the bathroom sink at her" ("Election Center," CNN, 4/23).

Dem strategist Paul Begala: "It's a wonderful newspaper. They're a bunch of ninnies. ... Ninnies, wimps, wussies. Pick your word. ... Here's the problem: They said this is doing long-term damage to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, the Democratic Party. I can't remember what else. I guess they're causing global warming, the extinction of the dinosaurs. Look, it's all been good for the Democratic Party. It's been good for Barack Obama, who is raising money and drawing huge crowds. It's been good for Hillary Clinton, who has now won by 10 points in a key state" ("AC 360," CNN, 4/23).

Dem strategist James Carville: "I'm reading from Monday's Washington Post, Dan Balz, who probably knows more about politics than everybody in the New York Times editorial board put together. ... The New York Times editorial boards -- bless their hearts, they're all well-meaning people -- they don't know anything about politics" ("LKL," CNN, 4/23).

GOP strategist Ed Rollins: "That's one of the more absurd editorials of the New York Times which that I think have absurd editorials most of the time. First of all, what she was doing in her ad, which is a pretty effective ad, she's talking about who should be the commander in chief. ... It's what Democrats have been beat on the last two elections and I think to a certain extent, for them to say, reminding people that you need to be a commander in chief is very important" ("Lou Dobbs Tonight," CNN, 4/23).

New York Daily News' Louis: "I think what they were reacting to, which I think is a legitimate issue, is the use of the image of Osama Bin Laden. ... If you're suggesting it was poorly written, as a member of a rival editorial board, I might have to agree. But I think though that the deeper question that they were getting at, not very well in my opinion, is that you can't go around scaring voters. It's is not the right way to campaign" ("Lou Dobbs Tonight," CNN, 4/23).

This article appears in the April 24, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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