Obama and Patti Solis Doyle: A Slap to Clinton, or High Five?

obama and patti
Photo: Newscom, Getty Images

Barack Obama's selection yesterday of Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary Clinton's ex–campaign manager, as chief of staff to his eventual vice-president had Clinton supporters red in the face. (Solis Doyle and Clinton no longer get along — the two may not have even spoken since the ouster.) A Clinton bundler told the New York Observer that the move was the "biggest fuck you I have ever seen in politics." Susie Tompkins Bell said in the Washington Post that "[i]t's a slap in the face." An anonymous Clinton insider was quoted on CQ as saying that "[t]here is no other way to interpret this other than ‘[Expletive] you.’” (We assume the expletive is "fuck.") But was the hire a blunder, or is everyone getting hot and bothered over nothing?

• Marc Ambinder thinks the truth "lies between the straight reading and the conspiratorial reading." Either the Obama campaign didn't expect this reaction from Clinton supporters, or they expected it and just didn't care. "There are lots of Obama aides and advisers who don't think that the feelings of Hillary Clinton's inner circle are terribly important right now," he writes. [Atlantic]

• Chuck Todd and friends are "amused" by all the talk, which "signals nothing other than getting the chattering class to attempt to read in between the lines on something that is just not there." [First Read/MSNBC]

• Lynn Sweet thinks the endorsement could be seen as "a sign that Sen. Hillary Clinton is drifting down and out from Obama's vice presidential short list." But it may have been unwise to "have sent this signal so soon, as he is busy wooing disgruntled Clinton supporters." [Chicago Sun-Times]

• Andrew Sullivan writes that hiring a former Clintonite could have been viewed as "a unifying move," but was interpreted as an insult because the Clintons' "egos are so large and the sense of entitlement so great." [Atlantic]

• Mark Hemingway wonders if this is a "breathtaking display of hubris on the part of the Obama campaign," considering that the Clintons, whom he's clearly insulting, already have an incentive to "wreak tremendous havoc behind the scenes" to set Hillary up for 2012. [National Review]

• Kevin Drum is a little puzzled by the "slap in the face" argument. "Obama has every incentive in the world to make nice with Hillary," and nothing has suggested that "he's given to gratuitous insults." Consequently, "either the conventional wisdom is wrong, or else there's a much deeper game going on than anyone thinks." [Political Animal/Washington Monthly] —Dan Amira

Related: Patti Solis Doyle Hired by Obama Campaign
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For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.