Hillary Clinton's supporters continue to push for her to be on Barack Obama's ticket, even after her camp issued a firm denial 6/5 that that was her wish.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), asked if Clinton should be the VP: "Senator Clinton is a team player. She's done exactly the right thing. She has said if Senator Obama should want her to be the vice president and thinks it's best for the ticket, she will serve, she will accept that. ... I think she would be a very strong candidate for vice president. There are many of us that do, but that choice is going to be Senator Obama's. ... I would urge Senator Obama to consider her very seriously" ("GMA," ABC, 6/6).
Adding fuel to the fire, PA Gov. Ed Rendell (D) "reversed himself" 6/5 and "concluded that, yes," Clinton would "definitely make a good" VP. Rendell: "She is, in my judgment, an excellent choice." More: "Is is absolutely necessary that she's on the ticket for us to win? No. Can Sen. Obama carry states like Pennsylvania without Sen. Clinton being on the ticket? Yes, but it will require her rolling up her sleeves and doing the work for him whether she's on the ticket or not" (Couloumbis/Farrell, Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/6).
This came after Clinton "disavowed" her supporters' VP efforts 6/5. Clinton spokesperson Howard Wolfson: "She is not seeking the vice presidency, and no one speak for her but her" (Fouhy, AP, 6/5). Clinton spokesperson Phil Singer: "While Senator Clinton has made clear throughout this process that she will do whatever she can to elect a Democrat to the White House, she is not seeking the vice presidency, and no one speaks for her but her." More: "The choice here is Senator Obama's and his alone" (Oliphant, "The Swamp," Chicago Tribune, 6/5).
The statements from the Clinton camp "did not categorically rule out accepting the position ... but rather appeared to be an effort to tamp down any effort to try to pressure Obama over the issue" (Lawrence, USA Today, 6/6).
Only A Few More Hours
Clinton will speak at noon on 6/7 at the National Building Museum in DC (release, 6/6). During her speech, Clinton "probably won't say she's ending her campaign. She's likely to say she is 'suspending' it." Under Dem rules, "the terminology can matter." By suspending, Clinton "would technically remain a candidate and be entitled to most of the pledged delegates she has already won." Dem Strategist Chris Kofinis: "It gives you a bargaining chip" (Adair, St. Petersburg Times, 6/5).
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, on Clinton's bargaining power: "I think the bidding starts at the $20 million, her debt, and it includes everything except the vice-presidency -- he is never going to hand it to her. But it could include, for example, an understanding about Bill getting the ambassadorship to the Court of Saint James. It gets him out of town, and he can finish his Oxford degree" ("Special Report," FNC, 6/5).
Speaking on his camp plane, Obama "said he appreciated the statement." Obama: "Senator Clinton's been through this when President Clinton went through a very deliberative process before he selected Al Gore." More: "We are going to be equally deliberative in how we move forward, and we're not going to do it in the press and we're not going to do it through surrogates" (Douglas/Talev, McClatchy Newspapers, 6/5).
About Obama's weekend plans, FNC's Garrett said: "I've been advised by the Obama campaign two things. One, there's been no invitation for him to be here at that event in Washington, D.C., and two, he has no plans to attend that event. ... Barack Obama's current plans are to be in Chicago. ... But I would say this. ... His plans today were to be flying back to Chicago and not meeting with Hillary Clinton tonight, and in fact, he's doing that, not sticking with the announced plan. So anything is possible" ("On the Record," 6/5).
Washington Post's Bacon: "I think Saturday will probably be a speech about why Barack Obama is a good candidate and why she likes him. ... I think her supporters are expecting it to be more about his candidacy and how she views it at this point" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 6/5).
FNC's Bruns: "The event seems to be more geared towards her supporters, congratulating them and saying thank you, obviously lending her support for Senator Obama, but more in a way that she's going to keep her delegates. ... If he's on the stage, she really has to go all the way and sort of end the campaign, give her delegates over. So what we're hearing is no Obama with her on the stage on Saturday. ... She won't say 'endorse,' but she'll say 'support.' And that's a pretty big difference from the way she said it on Tuesday, when she didn't mention his delegate lead" ("On the Record," 6/5).
In a 45-minute conf. call 6/3 with Dem members of the NY cong. delegation, Clinton "reportedly signaled a willingness to accept" the VP slot if asked (see 6/4 Hotline). By "revealing" that she would be interested in the VP job "in a private forum" Clinton "ensured that there'd be no footage of her actually saying this, thereby depriving the media of a clip that played over and over might make it [look] like she was begging" (Kornacki, New York Observer, 6/5).
What Women Want
"Most likely" Clinton's next move "will mean a return to the Senate, even more prominent than she was before, to work on healthcare and other issues she has long championed." She "may well begin preparing for another run for president." Dem strategist Hank Sheinkopf: "Hillary Clinton sill wants to be president of the United States. That desire may be chilled for now, but it will come into play in every decision she makes" (Braun/McManus, Los Angeles Times, 6/6).
As far as her return to the Senate, she could still have a "bright future" if she's "willing to work hard and put her celebrity to work raising money for the party" (Bazinet/Saltonstall, New York Daily News, 6/6).
Clinton aides "said she planned to actively raise money for Obama's campaign, both to bolster" the Dems' "cash position and expand" Obama's "prodigious donor base." The aides estimate she could bring in up to $100M for his camp -- "even more if she were named Obama's" VP. In return, "Clinton might seek help from Obama retiring her massive debt, which has swollen to more than" $30M, including $11M she lent her campaign. Ex-DNC Chair Steve Grossman: "I don't think anyone should worry that she won't play a most appropriate role. Will it be painful for her? Certainly. Butt she grew in this process and has a profound role to play politically in the years to come" (Fouhy, AP, 6/5).
More On Her Day Job
So will Clinton get a Senate leadership post after her WH run? Senate Dem Conference Sec/Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA): "We've had a lot of senators return to the Senate that have run for national office and they are welcomed with open arms and given the possibility to work with us, and will continue to." More: "And Sen. Clinton has tremendous knowledge on many issues, and is tremendously respected in the Senate and I assume that she will be capable of leading us ... wherever she is." Still, her return "does not mean she will be greeted with a newly created position within her conference's leadership" (Raju, The Hill, 6/5).
Welcome Back Hillary
"Love her or hate her, people across" NYC seemed prepared to welcome Clinton "back, full time, to her day job." But there's also a sense "that she would need to mend fences with some of her constituents, particularly black voters, after running a race that inspired fervent support and unbridled disgust" (Chen, New York Times, 6/6).
What's Life Like In The O-C?
There continued to be talk about Clinton as Obama's VP:
FNC's Barnes: "Her saying she is not seeking the vice-presidency, that doesn't mean anything. Nobody publicly seeks it and says I am seeking it ... Her strategy failed. Her strategy was to not endorse him, to make life miserable for him, and her pledged delegates stayed with her. But an important group didn't, and that was all the superdelegates who were with her. And you saw that Ed Rendell said you can't negotiate for this vice-presidency" ("Special Report," 6/5).
Washington Post's Balz: "I think both sides have tried to create more space than it looked like there was 24 hours ago" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 6/5).
Pat Buchanan: "There's only one circumstance under which she gets it, I think. And that is Barack Obama goes into August, finds himself 8 to 10 behind. ... He's not reaching into the Hillary Democrats, the old Reagan Democrats. He needs her to bring the women home, to bring the white folks home, working class, and to bring the Hispanics home in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada. That's the only circumstance I see" ("O'Reilly Factor," FNC, 6/5).
Dem strategist Robert Zimmerman: "Hillary Clinton is going to be judged whether she runs for vice president or not by how successfully she can help bring her coalition to the Democratic nominee" ("AC 360," CNN, 6/5).
Washington Post's Milbank, asked if the "Hillary or else talk" has evaporated: "I don't know if it's entirely evaporated. ... A lower heat, a simmer, if you will. ... Both sides are really doing this. Clinton making the shrewd maneuver, knowing that if indeed that was something that she was seeking, this was not the way to go about it by putting him in a position full of pressure; and Obama making very clear ... we're going to be looking at this in a month or two, this is not time to announce this. That will allow the hype of moment to die down and a more sober decision to be made. So, it does seem that, at least for the moment, the dream ticket will have to wait" ("Countdown," MSNBC, 6/5).
Financial Times' Freeland: "A danger in choosing Hillary is that Barack Obama has to not be perceived to have been forced to do it. If he is too weak to stand up to demands about who he picks as vice president, is he strong enough to be president of the United States? He has to be very careful" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 6/5).
Nation's Vanden Heuvel: "I'm not sure I see a dream ticket in Hillary Clinton. I worry about the aggregation of weaknesses" ("LKL," CNN, 6/5).
George Will: "What does she bring to him? She brings him New York. If he can't carry New York without her, he's going to lose anyway. But people say she will bring the women who were attached to her. Once the women who are her sort of women understand that John McCain is, A, pro-life and, B, going to appoint Supreme Court justices, they'll fall into line soon enough. ... I see no gain from this for Barack Obama" ("Hannity & Colmes," FNC, 6/5).
Washington Post's Cillizza puts Clinton in last place, out of five, in the Dem veepstakes. Why? "Putting Clinton on the ticket would be crazy. It runs directly counter to Obama's central message ... and opens up the possibility that Clinton would see the vice presidency as an opportunity to set up her own political base for future endeavors" ("The Fix," 6/5).
Don't Pick Her
New York Post's Hurt writes, "Obama should make it clear now that he has no intention whatsoever of picking Clinton as his running mate" (6/5).
Clinton supporter/Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ): "She has to be considered. We can't just dismiss 18 million voters because the pundits say she can't do it." More: "A Hillary Clinton vice-presidency would mean we wouldn't have to waste any more time papering over any disunity" (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ, 6/5).
Keep The Drive Alive
Clinton supporter/ex-WH special counsel Lanny Davis "remains unapologetic" about his online petition for Clinton to be VP. Davis "said he wants to provide an outlet to Clinton supporters, but only those who are willing to back Obama and "whoever he chooses" as a VP. Davis: "I've been lumped together with people who have said to Senator Obama, 'You have to put her on the ticket.' My position is he makes the final decision" (Nitkin, Baltimore Sun, 6/6).
Clinton's IA advisers are taking the blame for her loss. Clinton Midwest Chair Jerry Crawford: "I just didn't see the anger among independents and Republicans that resulted in the unanticipated turnout." More: "At the end of the day, Obama won because voters are angry, and his change message, more than his hope message, was a vessel voters could pour their anger into" (Beaumont, Des Moines Register, 6/6).
What About Bill
Bill Clinton "damaged his image" during the '08 Dem primary, "but he has time to regain his shine." Dem strategist Dan Gerstein: "I think a lot of the bruised feelings and ill will would evaporate" if he campaigns "vigorous" for Obama (Youngman, The Hill, 6/5).
However, while B. Clinton "political skills are extraordinary," some senior Dems and Obama officials "believe he is now simply too toxic to be a high-profile surrogate" (DeFrank, New York Daily News, 6/6).
Columnist Kathleen Parker writes, B. Clinton became a liability for his wife. "The man who once could woo a mannequin suddenly couldn't get his lines right. In some cases, he couldn't even get anyone to listen" (Wichita Eagle, 6/6).
Slate's Noah writes, B. Clinton has "dodged a bullet" with H. Clinton losing the nom. His role in the WH would be limited. "For a guy who likes to be the center of attention, it would be hell on earth." Now, with Obama as the nominee, "Bill's off the hook. What a lucky bastard" (6/5).
Clinton supporter/Dem strategist Robert Zimmerman, on whether B. Clinton could be an asset to Obama: "He could be a very important asset. The challenge for the Obama campaign is to see if they're secure enough and strong enough as an organization -- and I believe they are -- where they can find a way to incorporate and use Bill Clinton's strengths, because he's going to be a factor and how you work with him is going to be the issue, not whether you work with him" ("AC 360," CNN, 6/5).
GOP strategist Ed Rollins: "If you could not basically put handcuffs and put [Clinton] around the desk in the Little Rock library and not let him travel anywhere there's electoral votes for the next four years, I wouldn't let him anywhere near anything. ... I think Bill Clinton takes the oxygen out of the air wherever he is" ("AC 360," CNN, 6/5).
Why Now, Rob?
Clinton supporter/Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) "disclosed he received a phone call shortly before" the PA primary "from a top member of Clinton's organization and that the caller explicitly discussed a strategy of winning over Jewish voters by exploiting tensions between Jews and African-Americans." Andrews: "There have been signals coming out of the Clinton campaign that have racial overtones that indeed disturb me." More: "Frankly, I had a private conversation with a high-ranking person in the campaign ... that used a racial line of argument that I found very disconcerting. It was extremely disconcerting given the rank of this person. It was very disturbing."
In response, Singer said: "Comments like these, coming so soon after Congressman Andrews' crushing defeat, are sad and divisive" (Margolin, Newark Star-Ledger, 6/6).
More On The Why
"What hurt Clinton the most," is that "she couldn't consistently use the newfound ubiquity of video to soften her image with voters." GW prof. Michael Cornfeld: "It's like the Clintons, both of them had sort of a 'Sunset Boulevard' thing going on. They were silent screen stars who couldn't make the transition to talkies" (Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/5).
Des Moines Register's Basu writes, Clinton "made the mistake of trying to flick Obama off as just an irritant splinter in the ladder of her ascendency to the throne. Her campaign assumed he would crumple in the face of her superior connections, name recognition and efforts to mock him and his mantra of change. He didn't" (6/6).
Pin Me, Pay Me
Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro (D) "wants Obama to pay Clinton's" campaign debt. Asked about Clinton fundraisers being asked to join the Obama camp, Ferraro said: "These are the people raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. I would hope that [Obama] would do the same thing with his fundraisers to pay off Hillary's debt" (Fabian, The Hill, 6/5).
This article appears in the June 6, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.