Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Clinton to Fight On Despite Split Result

Simply unwilling to give up, officials from her campaign disclosed on Wednesday that she had lent her campaign more than $6 million over the last month. She did so, they said, in three installments: $5 million on April 11, $1 million on May 1, and $425,000 on May 5.

This is the non-elite populists who drinks a shot and a beer with the guys and understands the little people and their problems. The campaign has become a self-financed effort.

Some advisers said in interviews that her campaign is deep in debt and nearly broke, raising questions about what kind of campaign she can sustain.

A knife-fight sort, looks to me.

The political pressures are also growing. Former Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, the 1972 Democratic nominee and a well-known supporter of Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, announced on Wednesday that he was switching his endorsement to Mr. Obama and that he believed that Mrs. Clinton should drop out of the race, because it was now mathematically impossible for her to win the nomination.

Clinton advisers acknowledged that the results of the primaries were far less favorable than they had hoped, and that to lose by so much in North Carolina was dispiriting after Mrs. Clinton spent millions of dollars and a great deal of time and energy campaigning in the state. Even so, Mr. Obama outspent Mrs. Clinton there and in Indiana.

The statewide tally in Indiana was kept in doubt late into the night by incomplete results from Lake County, just across the state line from Chicago, Mr. Obama’s home. The delay meant that Mrs. Clinton did not appear on television to claim her victory in Indiana until well after Mr. Obama appeared in North Carolina, allowing him to put his stamp of victory on the evening.

Just not a good night, nor a good outlook, yet she will dig into her pocket and finance her quest, as well as the attacks on her opponent.

One question is whether more senior Democrats who are trusted by the candidate and her husband will ask her to consider quitting the race — politically savvy elected officials like Governor Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania or Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey, or friends with wide connections in the Democratic Party like Vernon Jordan or Robert Rubin.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a Rendell or a Vernon Jordan was prepared to weigh in with the Clintons, because the path to the nomination is just looking tougher for us,” said one top fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton and longtime friend of the couple, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe his mood and that of some other fund-raisers.

Somebody had better be putting the pressure on her to cease and desist.

The campaign may go on, but the contest is now over: Obama is the Democratic nominee for president,” said Robert Shrum, a Democratic strategist who was a senior adviser to the Gore and Kerry presidential campaigns. “Now the decision for her is how she wants to end this.

“The people who have her best interests at heart, they would now say to her, ‘You ought to really think about not protracting this, because you will only look selfish in the weeks to come,’ ” Mr. Shrum said. “Her Pennsylvania win bought her permission to go on. But then her narrow victory in Indiana and this smashing defeat in North Carolina — there is no rationale for her to continue.”

No rationale.

"In 1976 Ronald Reagan had a big principled argument to continue against Gerald Ford, built around détente and economic policy, and in ‘80 Kennedy had a big principled argument about health care and economic policy,” said Mr. Shrum, who worked on the Kennedy campaign. “What is her big principled argument against Obama? The gas tax holiday?”

If that.

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