|With the handwriting all over the wall, Hillary Clinton must be in a mental whirlwind today. Publicly, she's still in the race, but to paraphrase Keith Olbermann last night, the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse has happened; the war is over. The skirmishes that follow are just the messy aftermath. So how (and more importantly when) will Hillary bow out?
ABC tapped its inside source, supposed journalist and former Clinton staffer George "All Ayers and Flag Pins" Stephanopoulos, who was quizzed by his Get Barack tag team partner, Charlie "People Used to Have Respect for Me" Gibson...
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There are various exit strategies right now. Number one would be, go out on a win. So, stay in until West Virginia, where Sen. Clinton is likely the winner, and Kentucky on May 20, and after that, bow out. Two, negotiate for the imposition of Michigan and Florida, to get those delegations seated, declare victory on that, and get out. But the big one, Charlie — and this is what some people close to the Clintons are talking about: Is there a way to negotiate a settlement with Barack Obama to have Sen. Clinton on the ticket?
CHARLES GIBSON: And what do they think?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It's hard to know. I mean, first of all, would Sen. Obama go for it? Can he get over the bitterness of this campaign? Can he be convinced that it's the strongest ticket? Third, of course, would Sen. Clinton take it? I think if it was offered in the right way, yes.
Make that, "Hell Yes." But I rather doubt she'll be tapped. First off, Barack Obama is running his entire race on "changing the nature of politics," and nothing says "old politics" like the Clintons, who have run a scorched earth campaign more reminiscent of Nixon in 1960 or something out of Lee Atwater's wet dreams than anything that could be called "the new politics." In fact, Hillary has made a point of saying that there is no new politics, and that Barack must learn to play the old game.
Second, the bitterness between these two, and between their staffs may or may not be insurmountable, but their working styles likely are. A veep candidate Hillary would probably want to serve as Obama's attack dog, along with the former president, but Barack isn't having that, and wouldn't want that kind of thing inside his campaign. Also, there's a major question about whether or not he could trust her. Third, Barack's team seems confident that they can win over most of her supporters, without her. At best, Hillary might be able to get one of her close associates, say, Wes Clark, on Obama's short list.
Still, Stephanopoulos is pushing the story that Camp Hillary is raising the issue with the Obama team.
Labels: 2008 election, Hillary Clinton, presidential candidates