Friday, June 6, 2008

Clinton Meets With Obama, and the Rest Is Secret

Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton came together here Thursday evening to pull off a secret rendezvous. They ditched their traveling entourages, eluded camera crews across town and startled many of their own advisers as they held their first private meeting since becoming archrivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.

To be a fly on the wall.

The evening began in routine fashion, with Mr. Obama holding a large rally in northern Virgini. Then, he was scheduled to travel by motorcade to Dulles International Airport and fly to Chicago. The motorcade arrived, but Mr. Obama did not, stirring alarm among reporters who had been aboard the campaign plane for 45 minutes as it sat on the tarmac.

Politician gives media the slip. Where's Sam Spade? Philip Marlowe?

Sunlen Miller, who covers the Obama campaign for ABC News, filed an urgent dispatch via Blackberry to report that the senator had abruptly changed plans and had given the slip to those who were traveling with him all day. “I sent it as the wheels were going up,” Ms. Miller said of her message, recounting the agitation and confusion among her fellow travelers as the 757 lifted off.

Filed a dispatch via her Blackberry -- times have changed since Bogart used a two-piece rotary phone.

It wasn’t until after the plane landed in Chicago — sans the presidential candidate — that Mr. Gibbs confirmed a meeting had taken place between the rivals. Details? None given.

The face-to-face meeting, initiated by Mrs. Clinton, illustrated how the hierarchical roles of the candidate’s relationship suddenly were changing. While Mr. Obama agreed to meet Mrs. Clinton on her terms — at the location and time of her choosing — he was doing so wearing the title of a presumptive nominee, eager to get their first session out of the way and move onto the general election.

questions — not to mention the substance of the meeting — went largely unanswered. Advisers to both candidates did not respond to questions by telephone or email, saying the senators demanded that the session be kept secret.

What, a Clinton sans spin? What has happened?

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