6.04.2008

Clinton to suspend campaign, says goodbye to staff

Early this evening, the New York Times and ABC News are reporting that Hillary Clinton is looking to suspend her candidacy on Friday (Update: the event will now be held on Saturday) after a day of conversations with surrogates and Democratic figures who were supporting her. Other news agencies like Politico are now refining the news by describing the news as coming directly from the campaign and even reporting a venue from Clinton's speech: Washington, DC before a possible New York homecoming.

Obama's campaign was disappointed last night when Clinton did not endorse him in her prime-time speech, which would have set up a great moment for Obama to unify the party in his own address. Depending on how grandiose Clinton chooses her Friday event to be and the hour of the day at which she holds the event, her last speech as a candidate might repair some of yesterday's lost opportunity or seek to minimize the withdrawal. For now, the venue of Clinton's withdrawal informs us about the kind of message she wants to send, namely that she intends to concentrate on her work in Washington and build her Senate career -- unless, of course, she is picked for other duties (if not a vice-presidential spot then maybe the czar of Obama's health care initiative).

Speaking to AIPAC this morning, Clinton had delivered the first sign that she was dropping the defiant tone of last night's speech as she chose a more conciliating tone. Speaking to an audience that gave her a warm welcome and whose leaders are often described as skeptical of Obama's candidacy, Clinton vouched for the Illinois Senator's: "And let me be very clear. I know that Sen. Obama will be a good friend to Israel." In a way, Clinton's speech allowed her to remind Obama that she remains popular among a number of groups that he will need to appeal to in the general election and that she remains a powerful force in the campaign. The day's second sign that Clinton would not put up a fight came in the afternoon, as Marc Ambinder reports that Clinton bid farewell to her emotional staff in Arlington.

There had been similar clues circulating earlier this week, for instance in reports that Clinton staffers had been told to submit all receipts and that their last day of work would come mid-June. This also suggests that Clinton had pretty much decided to not stay in the race as of last night but still chose to not withdraw in her Election Night address. This could have two explanations. First, Clinton wanted to put pressure on Obama to accept some of her bargaining positions -- and she has other things she could want than the VP spot. Second, this allowed her to receive donations for one more night which is important to her as the campaign is in debt.

Clinton is likely to occupy the center stage for a few more days as last night's events coupled with the coming announcement will guarantee that many political obituaries, campaign retrospectives are written by all papers and magazine, and this also means three more days of non-stop speculation about Clinton's intentions and potential plans -- which is also what Clinton wants to stay relevant in the conversation. Starting Saturday night, however, the focus will be on the general election. The two campaigns are already in full war mode and are now going back-and-forth on the possibility of holding more debates.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign will dramatically expend in the coming days and weeks as it integrates some staff from the Clinton campaign and more generally opens up more offices, sets up more resources and starts recruiting volunteers to organize for the general election campaign. How long will we have to wait to see Obama start airing ad, as he is, after all, sitting on top of a giant warchest which he only has 3 more months to use (as the primary funds cannot be spent after the convention).

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22 Comments:

  • Politico is saying that the event will be on Saterday, not Friday, in order accodomate more of her supporters who want to attend.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 04 June, 2008 20:48  

  • Now this will be an historic moment: one of a handful of women senators and the strongest female candidate for president thus far conceding to another cocky, self-serving male. Yep, promises to be a great moment in US history. Kudos for all you have done and continue to do for this country, Senator!

    By Anonymous Tom, At 04 June, 2008 20:56  

  • one of a handful of women senators and the strongest female candidate for president thus far conceding to another cocky, self-serving male.

    I continue to not understand the vitriol. Has he been any more self-serving than anyone else who runs for office? How has he been cocky? Seems to me that he's been pretty respectful during the campaign--though supporters on both sides have been less so.

    And there are plenty of us who did not cast this contest in male/female terms, but tried to make up our minds on the merits of the two candidates. That one's opinion differs from plenty of others who have good reasons for doing so should not be a cause for such derision.

    It is a great moment: the start of the general election and, hopefully, the restoration the principles that made this country worth admiring. That should be the case regardless of which candidate got the nod.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 04 June, 2008 21:05  

  • Tom, what would you have preferred, the only black Senator since Reconstruction once again taking a back seat to a condescending white person because he doesn't "get" the mainstream culture?

    You could cast victory for either as a personal blow for a historically disenfranchised group. But that's a painfully limited way of looking at things. Maybe it's better to think of it as two historic, world-class candidates coming to the end of a close contest, with one inevitably ahead of the other.

    But somehow I doubt it serves your purposes to see it that way.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 04 June, 2008 21:36  

  • Tom: Though I have severe disagreements with both Clinton and Obama, we should have moved past the point of seeing the loss of any candidate as a blow to his/her gender or race. Your comment was both unnecessary and offensive.

    Stephen: Your statement is incorrect--Obama is, in fact, the third black Senator since Reconstruction. Edward Brooke (R-MA) served from 1967 to 1979. Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) served from 1993 to 1999.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 04 June, 2008 21:48  

  • Clinton appears to have decided to go quietly, and probably will silently pray for a McCain victory come November. It's pretty clear now she won't be on the ticket. How much help she gives to Obama is uncertain, but I doubt you will see Bubba out there campaigning for Barack.

    By Blogger Daniel Greenfield, At 04 June, 2008 22:55  

  • Mr. Rational--
    Yoop, my mistake, thanks. I'll change that to only-current-black-senator then, and the analogy hardly suffers.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 04 June, 2008 23:34  

  • "Second, this allowed her to receive donations for one more night which is important to her as the campaign is in debt."
    ********************************
    Without looking up her speech on YouTube, I recall one passage in the speech which could be read as a request for further financial support.

    daniel greenfield: I doubt that she gives less than maximum effort. The same is true for Bubba. Clearly, the events of the last 6 months, and particularly the last 3-4 days, indicate that Clinton control over party affairs has dissipated. The party elders will clearly be on the look-out for any game-playing to subvert Obama's candidacy. Whatever other hopes she may secretly harbor, if she endorses, she will enthusiastically do what's requested. To do otherwise is to court political exile, at least within the Democratic party. Ditto, Bubba - if we don't see much of him, that will be Obama's doing, not Bill's.

    (There will be lots of threatening about splitting away to form a new party, but unless very significant figures within Clinton's support groups are involved - people like Feinstein, Mikulski, etc. - that doesn't do anything for Clinton in practical terms. IMO, its much more likely that there will be an ideological battle within the party after November. We've been down that road before.)

    By Anonymous zoot, At 05 June, 2008 04:38  

  • So here we have it Obama has won. For all the anonymous people who posted on here the past 5 months saying he couldn`t win and how something would come up. You were wrong and please have the courtesy to admit it. I admit when I am wrong, but anon's on here do not.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 05 June, 2008 08:06  

  • Mike--

    What's the point of being anonymous if you can't deny all responsibility for everything you've ever said?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 05 June, 2008 08:21  

  • I'm not admitting that I'm wrong until he actually gets nominated. He's not yet the nominee. Clinton is suspending her campaign, not quitting. She's keeping her delegates until August. As for asserting that Obama can't carry the general, there's nothing to change that. The msm is now reporting that. I haven't been wrong yet. I still think he's the wrong choice and I doubt the party would be stupid enough to put a loser on the ballot. If they do I'll admit I had higher expectations. If Obama actually wins the general, I'll admit that the data proving his deficiency was incomplete and that the time has come for an election free of prejudice. I feel pretty good about where I stand. I don't think you Obama supporters will feel too well when McCain gets sworn in. If I'm wrong, a Democrat is president. You guys have much more to lose. I'd rather keep my hand than risk having yours. Besides, a republican president makes me richer and you guys poorer. Obama makes me richer than Clinton too. So in August I'll admit that I was wrong about Obama making it, in November I'll admit I was wrong about it too. Obama hasn't done anything now to change my views or prove me wrong. You're putting the cart in front of the horse. We'll see who was right in their prognostications.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 05 June, 2008 08:32  

  • As for asserting that Obama can't carry the general, there's nothing to change that. The msm is now reporting that....If Obama actually wins the general, I'll admit that the data proving his deficiency was incomplete

    There's plenty of evidence that Obama can carry the general. Several web sites studying state-by-state polls of him head-to-head against McCain show him slightly ahead in the electoral college. One may choose to discount this evidence, but it is evidence relevant to the question at hand. So to say he "can't" win at this point would seem to be a severe overstatement.

    Moreover, a McCain victory would not prove that Obama couldn't win; it would show only that he didn't win. The eventual results don't bear on the question as to whether a particular outcome is possible beforehand. If I roll a five on a die, it doesn't mean I was correct in claiming I couldn't have rolled anything else; of course other outcomes were possible, or even more probable.

    I'm not going to say McCain can't win. I do think that based on the available evidence that Obama is more likely to win, regardless of my personal feelings for or against either candidate.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 05 June, 2008 09:52  

  • Strange logic - making absolutist statements about what will or will not happen in the future, then challenging others to 'prove' them wrong. I don't think there's ever 'proof' concerning opinions of any sort, let alone what may occur in the future - there's only persuasion. Besides, an informed skepticism concerning one's own views is the best defense against blind ideology, but maybe you haven't had enough of that.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right

    Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty (1944)

    By Anonymous zoot, At 05 June, 2008 12:14  

  • Hurray for the two anons!!! Finally Clinton is done. Don't bother Mike, they won't admit to anything yet.

    By Anonymous ACE, At 05 June, 2008 13:39  

  • Besides, an informed skepticism concerning one's own views is the best defense against blind ideology

    That is a great line. If more people in Congress followed it (or at least were willing to do so publicly instead of privately), we'd have a much less rancorous political environment and maybe get more done.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 05 June, 2008 14:04  

  • Why admit to being wrong about something that hasn't happened yet? Aren't you guys forgetting something? And the claim that Obama's failure wouldn't prove he couldn't, rather that he didn't want to is just ludicrous. Does anyone think he'd choose not to win? I think you people are just a little too blind to be patting yourselves on the back before this thing is over. I think Obama's going to lose. Nothing will change my opinion on that until he does otherwise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 05 June, 2008 15:11  

  • "Nothing will change my opinion on that until he does otherwise."

    Including poll numbers that consistently show McCain's sharp decline? Disastrous reversals in Iraq or attacks on Iran with McCain's endorsement? Revelations that John has been having unnatural connections with an armadillo?

    I do admire your resolution. There doesn't seem to be a single chink in your iron-clad certainty for stubborn facts to squeeze through.

    By Anonymous zoot, At 05 June, 2008 15:35  

  • And the claim that Obama's failure wouldn't prove he couldn't, rather that he didn't want to is just ludicrous.

    "I thought I could roll a 1 through 5 on a die. When I rolled it, I got a 6. I guess that shows I couldn't roll a 1 through 5."

    That sounds ludicrous. You can't judge probabilities after the fact.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 05 June, 2008 17:40  

  • When some "stubborn facts" like tumbling polling for McCain come through, I'll feel better about putting Obama out front. I think it's blind optimism at this point not to foresee a disaster like McGovern happening. Dsimon-stay away from the casinos or you're doomed. Logic like that is their bread and butter. At least you agree that it's a poor gamble. Obama is wishing for a six but anything less will be short.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 05 June, 2008 18:53  

  • When some "stubborn facts" like tumbling polling for McCain come through, I'll feel better about putting Obama out front. I think it's blind optimism at this point not to foresee a disaster like McGovern happening.

    There are plenty of stubborn facts in the form of state-by-state polling that show Obama even with McCain in the electoral college or slightly in front. Those number may change--in McCain's favor or Obama's favor--but to say now that Obama "can't" win can't be backed up with the evidence we have today.

    For some different analyses that are based on more than sheer speculation, try:
    http://www.electoral-vote.com/
    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/
    http://uselectionatlas.org/

    Dsimon-stay away from the casinos or you're doomed. Logic like that is their bread and butter.

    I know math and logic. And I know better than to say something "can't" happen when the outcome is still very much in doubt.

    To say something "can't" happen when there's a 5/6 chance it can happen is simply incorrect. And it's not verified when the 1/6 event happens; it just shows the predictor was lucky that time. Keep making that bet that it "can't" happen, and you'll lose badly.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 05 June, 2008 22:39  

  • Anonymous--

    It's "blind optimism" not to *foresee disaster*? So if the weather looks good, the weather forecast is good, and I live in a temperate northern climate, it's blind optimism not to expect a hurricane to start whipping down my street any minute?

    Please. Clinton was a much better candidate than McCain, and even she couldn't take out Obama. There's no reason to just assume Obama's support is going to collapse because you personally are pissed off he beat Clinton.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 06 June, 2008 10:05  

  • As for asserting that Obama can't carry the general, there's nothing to change that.
    ...

    Obama is wishing for a six but anything less will be short.

    These two statements are at odds with each other (assuming they're the same poster). If Obama can win with a six, that means it's not true that he "can't" win.

    I haven't been wrong yet.

    It's hard for others to give credibility to that statement from people to continue to post anonymously since there's no way to check it.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 06 June, 2008 11:13  

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