Dems to Hillary: ‘Give it up!’

Her path to the nomination inevitable no more, Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to announce she is ending her groundbreaking candidacy and supporting Barack Obama, her rival in a presidential quest for the ages.

Clinton prepared to declare Saturday that she is backing the Illinois senator after Democratic congressional colleagues made clear they had no stomach for a protracted intraparty battle once Obama secured the 2,118 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination.

A presidential contender who announced 17 months ago that she was “in it to win it,” the former first lady plans to end her quest with a more humble plea for party unity.

In truth, she had little choice.

Hours after Obama sealed the nomination, Democrats coalesced around his candidacy, sending a strong signal to Clinton that it was time to bow out. The New York senator told House Democrats during a private conference call Wednesday that she would express support for Obama’s candidacy and congratulate him for gathering the necessary delegates to be the party’s nominee.

“Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, D.C., to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity. This event will be held on Saturday to accommodate more of Senator Clinton’s supporters who want to attend,” her communications director, Howard Wolfson, said.

Also in the speech, Clinton will urge once-warring Democrats to focus on the general election and defeating Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

The only degree of uncertainty was how. Clinton is exploring options to retain her delegates and promote her issues, including a signature call for universal health care.

The announcement closed an epic five-month nominating battle pitting the first serious female candidate against the most viable black contender ever.

Obama on Tuesday night secured the delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. But Clinton stopped short of acknowledging that milestone, defiantly insisting she was better positioned to defeat McCain in November.

“What does Hillary want? What does she want?” Clinton asked, hours after telling supporters she’d be open to joining Obama as his vice presidential running mate.

But by Wednesday, other Democrats made it abundantly clear they wanted something too: a swift end to the often bitter nominating contest.

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean and the Democratic congressional leadership released a statement urging the party to rally behind Obama, and several lawmakers, including Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, all endorsed their Illinois colleague.

Obama also announced he had named a three-person vice presidential vetting team that included Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President Kennedy.

On the telephone call with impatient congressional supporters that included New York Rep. Charles Rangel, a longtime political patron, Clinton was urged to draw a close to the contentious campaign, or at least express support for Obama. Her decision to acquiesce caught many in the campaign by surprise and left the campaign scrambling to finalize the logistics and specifics behind her campaign departure.

It was an inauspicious end for a candidacy that appeared all but indestructible when it began Jan. 20, 2007.

Armed with celebrity, a prodigious fundraising network, a battle-tested campaign team and husband who also was a popular two-term former president, Clinton was believed by many observers to be unbeatable.

But in Obama, the New York senator faced an opponent who appeared perfectly suited to the time — a charismatic newcomer who had opposed the Iraq war from the beginning — in contrast to her — and who offered voters a compelling message of change. Clinton voted for the legislation that authorized military force against Iraq, a decision that hampered her campaign from the beginning.

After a disastrous showing in the leadoff Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, Clinton won New Hampshire’s primary Jan. 8, setting off the state-by-state war of attrition with Obama that followed.

Her fortunes rose and fell like a fever chart: She was up in Nevada, down in South Carolina. Then, after a roughly even finish on Super Tuesday Feb. 5, she suffered a string of unanswered losses that, almost before Clinton noticed, put Obama so far ahead in the delegate hunt that all the big-state victories she piled up couldn’t close the delegate gap.

By March, her options limited, Clinton adopted the persona of a tenacious fighter for the middle class. She powered successfully through primaries in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, showing grit that earned her valuable political currency.

White men, blue-collar workers, socially conservative Democrats and older women were especially receptive to her message, and her strong showing with those voters exposed Obama’s vulnerabilities among those groups.

Democrats whose No. 1 concern had been ending the Iraq war at the campaign’s outset started worrying more about the economy. That was a switch from Obama’s strength to hers.



  2. Ted, if he’s a jerk in his own time, what’s he doing on our’s? ‘Our’s’, as in government time.

  3. I fail to see a connection there. How does this impact the FCC if the jerk did it on his own time?


  4. "What does Hillary want? What does she want?"

    Her money back?


    "Her campaign’s financially in a hole, and once he’s elected, a sitting president can do a lot to help a financially strapped candidate. (There’s talk about the Obama Campaign picking up her debts which would violate election law; but there’s nothing to prevent him from helping her afterwards.)"

    How does she get her money back that she owes and that the campaign owes her?
    What happens to Hillary Clinton’s debt when the primaries are over?

    Must be a big reason why she won’t bow out?


    Bryan McClellan:
    "Where the Sam hell is the FCC?"

    They have their own set of troubles to deal with these days:
    Ponzi scheme by the chief of staff for the chairman there?

  5. What more proof do we need that our electoral, government watchdog, and our judicial processes are broken.

    One sides pukes foul the airwaves with lies and half truths so the other pack of rabid skunks sprays their brand of funk everywhere to counter the assault.

    Where the Sam hell is the FCC? They are tasked with policing the info realm but do nothing about blatant lying and the juggling of facts.

    Hell no ,some celebrities kid just showed her bare back to the world, thats child abuse, we don’t care that some radio dickhead or politician just stuck his/her bare ass out to the people and said KISS IT!

    When politicians and so called personalities lie they need to be confronted and adjudicated accordingly.

    If the useless ACLU really wanted to make a meaningful difference they would go after any and all who parse the truth and then present their version to the American people without fear of retribution.

    This is not some dime store novella we’re talking about.

    This is our beloved nation dammit.

    Where oh where is Joe Friday? Just the facts maam.

  6. I like the reference to “Third Grade Terrorism,” and think we need to make it a consistent and demeaning response to that kind of right-swing slime (i.e., “Sandbox Terrorism,” “Playground Terrorism,” “Street Corner Terrorism,”or any other settings where the bullies congregate.)

    More to the point, though, we as opponents to Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy have got to back off on the slurs. She ran a tough campaign; withstood a lot of crap from our side; and brought out as many Democratic voters (More, in fact!), as did Obama.

    I’d like to see her formally close out her campaign, rather than “suspend” it. The former is a genuinely public acceptance of reality; the other holds the implication that Mr. Ickes and a “rump” coalition of delegates could cause a problem with the Rules Committee during the Democratic Convention. A formal ending and transfer of her delegate strength means a unanimous first ballot (by acclimation) in Denver, and that gives a candidate even more “bounce.”

    I don’t think she’d be an asset on the ticket; and probably knows that herself. Instead, she should be encouraged to help in the VP candidate selection. (Add her or one of her surrogates to the team headed up by Caroline Kennedy)

    I think she’ll be a powerful resource for the Obama Administration (Wow! That felt good!), but she can also go back to the United States Senate with incredible “juice.” Harry Reid should be replaced — unless, perhaps, he can deliver the Blue Dogs Democrats to the Obama Campaign — and she’s an obvious figure to do so. She certainly can pick any committee she wants to chair, and in the longer run, it will give her substantial influence over a wide array of national policies.

    Further, she’s still the junior Senator from New York, with a safe seat; and with a few more years of legislative seasoning, she can leave the Senate for the Supreme Court or a Cabinet position. So it’s because she has the thirst for individual recognition, public service, and political power for herself that I think she’ll wait rather than stand second in rank to Obama.

    I can only guess how tough it will be for her to enthusiastically campaign for him. Wasn’t it Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian who said “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the ONLY thing?” But her support can’t be grudging or tepid. Her campaign’s financially in a hole, and once he’s elected, a sitting president can do a lot to help a financially strapped candidate. (There’s talk about the Obama Campaign picking up her debts which would violate election law; but there’s nothing to prevent him from helping her afterwards.)

    Finally, Hillary Clinton will need to come to terms with her colleagues who went with Obama, and especially those who were with her and then switched. In politics, where your word really is your bond but reversals of position are common, she’ll need to find a way to forgive and move on. (Notice I didn’t say forget… Sometimes you have to hand even your friends a little “payback.”)

    I think American society really is at a crossroads. If Democrats can’t coalesce behind Barack Obama, then we deserve everything that will happen under a McCain regime.


  7. ADB:
    “Instead, she should be encouraged to help in the VP candidate selection. (Add her or one of her surrogates to the team headed up by Caroline Kennedy).”

    Bad suggestion. Obama already has a Clinton-associated & bad choice on that team, in the form of Eric Holder. This from Dick Morris today over on

    “As deputy attorney general, Holder was the key person who made the pardon of Marc Rich possible in the final hours of the Clinton presidency.”

    Enough of that sort of sleaze. And it makes me wonder about BO’s team of advisers. How changeworthy, really, is he? Aren’t some of them just more of the same old, with links to the CFR etc? He needs to clear himself of all manner of taint, to earn the full respect of the American people in a sweeping clean of the ugly old order.

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