It's Obama:The day began with an Associated Press report that Hillary Clinton would concede that Barack Obama had enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination. Then the Clinton camp responded that rumors of its effective demise were greatly exaggerated. Campaign chair Terry McAuliffe rejected the AP story as "100 percent incorrect," citing Obama's failure to nab the requisite 2,118 delegates. Now comes another AP story, this one with a mathematical tally "based on public commitments from delegates as well as more than a dozen private commitments," saying Obama's got it all wrapped up. Bloggers speculated throughout the day on the hows, rather than the whens, of Clinton's bow-out.
Reliably snarky Wonkette snipes that it's all about the money: "She will make Barack Obama host some fundraisers, and maybe hold a car wash or something. At least, her chief strategist Harold Ickes said she wasn't going to pull out of the race until her debt issue was resolved, and then Barack Obama said that he would be working with her 'in November,' so obviously this means Obama is going to pay her off." But John Cole at Balloon Juice explains why Hillary still matters: "The Clintons know they will not win the nomination, so they are now not so quietly sending a clear message- we still matter. They know they do not have the nomination for now, but you need them more than they need you, and, well, things can happen. And, quite frankly, it would be stupid to push the Clintons. Although I get tired of the notion that Hillary is a bomb that needs to be defused."
Politico's Ben Smith has obtained a copy of the letter the Illinois State Financing Committee plans to send to Clinton, which seems to scuttle the abandon-ship mentality. In it, the committee calls Clinton "the best candidate of the three" and states: "The automatic delegates can change their mind up until their vote at the convention, and that is why this nominating process must be resolved in August, and no earlier."
Daily Kos' DHinMI theorizes: "It's possible that the Clinton campaign is pushing back against the AP report because they wanted tonight to be a bit of a 'surprise,' or to have her concede the race without having it seem as if it's in reaction to media announcements that she's done." New Yorkmagazine's Daily Intel argues that "if Clinton isn't dropping out tonight, she may miss her chance to really end the race on her terms" because once Obama gets all the superdelegates he needs, "Clinton's exit [will be] a foregone afterthought."
Marc Ambinder says in Clinton's speech she will "express a willingness to serve her party in any capacity deemed necessary to to unite the party. The Obama world seems still very cool to this idea."
CQ Politics offers this oddly speculative what-if on Clinton's future: "She could endorse Obama — which would not foreclose the possibility of her becoming the nominee in August if he becomes politically un-viable later in the process." And Ed Morrissey at Hot Air claims if Hillary wants the VP slot, she could likely get it, Obama's antipathy toward her be damned: "She can press him all the way to the ballot for the nomination and tie him up all summer in lobbying the superdelegates. He will be faced with the conundrum that LBJ described as between having someone outside the tent pissing in or inside the tent pissing out. At this point, he may have little choice but to accept the latter."
Liberal John Aravosis at AMERICAblog gasps: "[O]ne thing tonight is certainly NOT about is Hillary Clinton. How in God's name does anyone pervert Obama reaching 2,118 delegates as a moment we should devote to the loser?" Aravosis isn't the only blogger focusing more on Obama than Clinton; Jonathan Stein at Mother Jones' MoJo Blog predicts: "When Obama gets to 2,117, every undeclared superdelegate in America is going to be calling David Axelrod hoping to be the deciding vote. I'll bet the campaign groups a whole bunch together in order to avoid a melee." Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro at MSNBC's First Read report: "We're told if the campaign has the supers we hear they have, they'll roll them out in chunks today -- possibly as many as 18 House members today, a handful of senators, and the trickling of DNC members."
Obama fan Andrew Sullivan is upbeat: "When Obama passes the magic number, what to post? Readers are hereby invited to submit quotes, YouTubes, poems, songs, photographs and whatever you dream up to commemmorate the Clintons' departure from presidential politics for, well, at least three years. This is a celebration that can unite Democrats and Republicans."
And Dan Savage at the Stranger's Slog exhales after news of Obama's effective win: "Hey, the Democrats just nominated a black dude for president. For the first time in my adult life I'm proud to be an Ameri—oh, wait. Scratch that. It's pretty cool, though, huh? Now here's hoping we haven't screwed the pooch with this historic move."
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