early and often

Blustery Clinton Pulls Out the Stops in Florida


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For a minute there it seemed like Hillary Clinton was just going to run out the clock on her quest for the nomination. But in light of her intensified crusade to seat the delegates from the disqualified primaries in Florida (where the candidates didn’t campaign) and Michigan (where Obama did not appear on the ballot), is it possible she was simply lulling Obama & Co. into a false sense of security? Yesterday in Florida, Clinton placed her fight for that state’s delegates in the context of the 2000 recount, the civil-rights movement, and the disputed election in Zimbabwe, and suggested she may go all the way to the convention. Obama has repeatedly tried to begin his general-election campaign only to be pulled back in, like Michael Corleone, and now seems desperate to put the primaries to rest: He’s reportedly already begun his search for a vice-president, and David Axelrod said yesterday that they’re willing to “go more than half-way” on Michigan and Florida to resolve the dispute.

• Jonathan Chait thinks Clinton’s Florida gambit is a “breathtaking” attempt to “steal the nomination.” He notes that not campaigning in Florida benefited Clinton more because of her name recognition, and that only after she needed the state did she protest its penalization by the DNC. Clinton, by elevating her importance to that of the greatest liberal legacies, is “proving herself temperamentally unfit for the presidency.” [Plank/New Republic]

• Andrew Sullivan believes it would be “unconscionable” for Obama to be punished for simply playing by the rules, and that Clinton’s “losing is so ugly, so feckless, so riddled with narcissism and pathology” that she shouldn’t even be considered for vice-president. [Atlantic]

• Jennifer Rubin says there’s nothing “immoral or illegal” about not counting the votes in Michigan or Florida, as political parties set all types of “crazy” rules all the time. She suspects that eventually Obama will just give her the delegates. [Commentary]

• Isaac Chotiner finds it “unseemly” that Clinton’s campaign is “so aggressively negative and pathetic” while Obama has gone out of his way recently to praise her. [Stump/New Republic]

• Thomas Edsall expects the Rules and Bylaws Committee to pass a compromise resolution on May 31 that will give Florida and Michigan half of their delegates or all of their delegates but with half a vote each, giving Clinton a net of about sixteen to twenty more delegates. [HuffPo]

• Jake Tapper says Clinton’s Zimbabwe comparison doesn’t explain why Clinton didn’t fight for Michigan and Florida until she needed them to win or why her campaign’s senior adviser, Harold Ickes, himself voted to strip the states of their delegates. [Political Punch/ABC News]

• Katharine Q. Seelye and Jeff Zeleny note that even under the “rosiest scenario,” winning the Florida and Michigan delegates “may only be symbolic” and wouldn’t help Clinton catch Obama, though it might be her “last glimmer of hope” in her case for the superdelegates to support her. [NYT]

• Craig Crawford mentions that Obama might not want forfeit those delegates even if he can spare them and keep a majority, since something could always come up that could cause some superdelegates to waver, and Clinton to revive her campaign. [TrailMix/CQ Politics]

• Chris Cillizza thinks Clinton is just trying to put pressure on the Rules and Bylaws Committee before it meets on May 31, and thinks there’s actually “little evidence” that Clinton wants to take her fight all the way to the convention. [Fix/WP] —Dan Amira

Earlier: Obama’s Problem With Working-Class Whites: Not As Bad As You Think!

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.

Blustery Clinton Pulls Out the Stops in Florida