Hillary’s allies strategize a comeback

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Hat Tip: By Thomas Edsall, The Huffington Post

Manchester, N.H. — A panicked and cash-short Clinton campaign is seriously considering giving up on the Nevada caucuses and on the South Carolina primary in order to regroup and to save resources for the massive 19-state mega-primary on February 5.

At the same time, some top independent expenditure groups supporting Clinton have been exploring the creation of an anti-Obama “527 committee” that would take unlimited contributions from a few of Clinton’s super-rich backers and from a handful of unions to finance television ads and direct mail designed to tarnish the Illinois Senator’s image.

The Clinton campaign has raised over $100 million, but has “only” $15 to $20 million left. It faces donor reluctance to give more in the face of the Iowa defeat and the prospect of a second loss in New Hampshire today. Even worse, the campaign fears defections among those fundraisers who want to be with a winner and who might be easily persuaded to support Barack Obama.

While the amount of money Clinton has would seem to be more than enough by past standards, the cost of competing in the February 5 states — including New York, California, Georgia, New Jersey, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Arizona – is unprecedented in the history of American primaries. She will face, in turn, an extremely well-funded Obama campaign, whose cash register right now doesn’t stop ringing as donations are coming in over the Internet, by mail and in checks handed over in person.

The decision whether to take on Obama in Nevada and South Carolina will likely be made within the next 12 hours.

Both states look like probable defeats for Clinton. South Carolina has a large black electorate that is now likely to back Obama by wide margins, and the Democratic primary is open to all voters, including independents and Republicans, two other groups that in Iowa backed Obama decisively. Clinton had looked fully competitive in Nevada, but Obama’s victories have boosted his chances there and now he appears almost certain to get the endorsement of the powerful Culinary Workers Union.

Arguing against pulling out of South Carolina and Nevada are Clinton aides who say that bowing out now would guarantee four defeats in a row – Iowa, N.H. lost at the ballot box, and South Carolina. and Nevada given up by default – would be a disastrous precursor to the February 5 contests. “You’ve got to put some points on the board. You can’t just let the other guys run up the score and expect to come back in the fourth quarter,” one Clinton aide said.

Three groups conducting independent expenditure campaigns in behalf of Clinton – Emily’s List, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – have explored the possibility of trying to put together a multi-million dollar effort privately dubbed the Anybody-But-Obama 527 Committee, but they have run into problems finding any Democratic operative willing to become the director of a campaign against the man who now is the odds-on favorite to become the party’s nominee.

“You might make some good money in the short term, but your chances of getting any Democratic contracts in the future, especially if Obama wins, would be zilch,” said one operative. “I wouldn’t go there.” The effectiveness of a 527 that goes negative was demonstrated by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which attacked John Kerry’s war record in the 2004 campaign.

6 thoughts on “Hillary’s allies strategize a comeback

  1. Let her pull out of South Carolina and leave all those POls hanging in the lurch.

    You never did tell me what kind of popcorn, SB. It’s gonna be a helluva night.

    Me, I like a cheese and caramel combo. Sweet and salty…..:)

  2. candace

    Strange as it may sound I’m rooting for the BOTH of them. I’m all for keeping our eye on the prize – THE PRESIDENCY. I can’t see us getting there divided!! For sure Barack is going to win S.C. I have a brother in S.C and a host of cousins, they can’t wait to vote for Obama!!

    The only diff. I sense in black south carolinians is that they are not Soooooo ANTI-HILLARY! In fact, a lot of them feel as I do; Was for Hillary until Obama came along.

    I can’t see how we go wrong w/Obama, Hillary or Edwards!! Afterall, they basically have the same voting records and the same ideologically!!!! I’m still rooting for Obama, though.

    Isn’t it powerful the field of nominees the democratic party has!! 2 potentially historic figures too.

  3. Lucia Akech

    Bill Clinton was so agitated that he resorted to calling Obama as a “PHONY”. This is because earlier polling in New Hampshire was showing that Obama was ahead of Hillary. Similarly, the neocon, Bill Kristol, indicated that Mayor Bloomberg might run as an independent should Obama become be the Democratic Party nominee for the Presidency. Doing so, he said, would neutralize Obama so that that a republican can win. I do not see the difference between the “neocon” Kristol and Bill Clinton. The latter is “a wolf in a sheep’s clothing” whenever he wants the Black votes which feels he is entitled to. All he has to do is find a black leader or clergy who is willing to galvanize Black Folks to the voting booths.

    Kristol’s position reminded me of what Joe Lieberman did in Connecticut running as independent. Lieberman independent status has antagonized Democrats efforts in Congress earning them the name “Do Nothing Congress”.

    I have difficulties understanding why Black community does not like speaking/voting as a block, particularly, on those issues affecting them as a people. Why do we operate like lone wolves in a world where unity is the only thing? Clinton, Kristol and Lieberman are taking care of their interest. Why don’t we take care of our interests using our votes?

  4. candace

    Lucia,

    He didn’t say that Obama is a phony, he said that Obamania is a myth. And, i hardly doubt that Bill Clinton is a neocon, as it was the neocons who antagonized and brutalized him!

    And, for the most part we, Blacks, do vote as a block. i agree w/you that we should. There are other blacks out there who feel that we should have some political diversity like other races do. I tend to disagree!!

    As far as Bloomberg is concerned, I thin he’ll enter the race should either Hillary or Barack wins!!

    Politics is serious business to white folks, and they tend to be very calculating too. Not emotionally charged to a fault!! They come together whenever it is advantageous to do so!

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