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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Are Reports Of Hillary Clinton's Presidential Demise, Premature?

Clinton said she still expects to win the Ohio and Texas primaries, but her increasingly pessimistic advisers did nothing to rebut a remark by former president Bill Clinton that his wife must win both states to continue her candidacy.
The Democratic race for who will obtain the nomination for the 2008 presidential election has shown a cut throat campaign being waged by both candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

It has been said that Obama has an almost cult like following and Clinton continues to point out his lack of experience and on the other side of the coin, Obama's campaign has accused Clinton of dirty political tactics.

Reports from both the New York Times and the Washington Post today both are signaling that the Clinton campaign could very well be teetering on the edge.

Both stories cite advisers, longtime friends and members of the Clinton inner circle, sometimes by name and at others on condition of anonymity, but the tone of both articles is the same.... Hillary Clinton might be fighting a losing battle against what the Clinton campaign’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, and its communications director, Howard Wolfson, calls "running against a phenomenon", referring to Barack Obama.

From the Washington Post article we see that members of the Clinton inner circle are discussing "how to raise with Clinton the subject of withdrawing from the race should she fail to win decisively on March 4. One option was to wait a day or two and then dispatch emissaries to former president Clinton to urge him to make the case."

Citing one anonymous adviser they go on to say that losing Wisconsin by 17 points has started to sink in as a decisive blow and that despite Clinton's public optimism, "She knows where things are going. It's pretty clear she has a big decision. But it's daunting. It's still hard to accept."

The New York Times reveals that the feeling among donors and some advisers is that a "comeback" is improbable and internal polls are showing that Texas, a state Bill Clinton has called a "must win", is going to be a very tough race.

They report that morale in the Clinton campaign is low, staff is exhausted and internal infighting is being reported for a variety of reasons as well as major fund raisers asking reporters to refer to them as simple "donors" to "try to rein in their image as unfailingly loyal to the Clintons."

Longtime friends are saying that Clinton rarely uses terms that she used to use, such as "when I’m president", she is more somber and she has started thanking major supporters for helping her run for the Democratic nomination.

Many say this is because she is a cold, hard realist about politics although at the moment she may not be "temperamentally suited to reckon with the possibility of losing quite yet."

“I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored,” she said. “And you know, whatever happens, we’re going to be fine.”

She found herself explaining on Friday that the remark was not meant as some sort of farewell. Yet to some friends, she is in fact acting differently; to others, the situation has become simply heartbreaking. When Mr. Clinton said last week that his wife had to win in Texas and Ohio, it was not only the first public admission by a senior member of her circle that her candidacy was on the line, it was also a moment that deepened the feeling of shock felt by some of her supporters.

Despite what these reports are saying though about what is happening behind the scenes, the fight continues in public, with Clinton slamming Obama's tactics, and comparing him to George Bush and calling him untested and Obama filing complaints with the Federal Elections Commissions against pro-Clinton groups in Ohio.

Publicly the war between Obama and Clinton continues contrary to reports about what is happening privately, and one is left wondering if these reports of Hillary Clinton's presidential demise are a bit premature and are, instead, just another step in the dance of America's presidential campaign season.