early and often

Clinton Keeps Us Guessing


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You have to give Hillary Clinton credit for making things interesting until the absolute very end. The media’s attempts in the past couple of days to read her thoughts and try to figure out her endgame — or if she’ll even leave the race at all — hasn’t amounted to much more than a wild-goose chase. However, if Clinton isn’t dropping out tonight, she may miss her chance to really end the race on her terms. Obama is apparently working furiously to line up enough superdelegates to push him over the top so that he can declare victory tonight after the final primaries are over. Once that happens, a superdelegate landslide and general coalescing around the Democratic nominee can be expected, making Clinton’s exit a foregone afterthought. With that in mind, on with the wild-goose chase.

• Marc Ambinder reports that Clinton told friends over the weekend that she doesn’t want to be rushed and will not concede tonight. She may even make a kind of “vice-presidential overture” in her speech, which could also celebrate her campaign and supporters and summarize her case for the superdelegates. [Atlantic]

• Adam Nagourney writes that Clinton will deliver a “farewell speech” tonight, but not officially drop out of the race until later in the week, once “Obama’s victory appeared clear.” [NYT]

• Peter Nicholas says that the Clinton campaign is “slowing down,” but not ending, to give Clinton the option of deciding to “stage a comeback” in the coming days. The campaign considered but rejected a plan to campaign in general-election states later in the week. [LAT]

• John McCormick and Mike Dorning report that a source expects Obama to roll out enough endorsements throughout the day for him to have enough delegates even before the polls close in Montana and South Dakota. [Chicago Tribune]

• Ben Smith writes that Harold Ickes told Clinton’s major fund-raisers that Clinton isn’t planning on dropping out and suggested a possible fight over Michigan’s delegates. State finance committees are also pushing for Clinton to continue on until August. [Politico]

• Chuck Todd and friends wonder if the threats of continuing her campaign are all part of a strategy to earn a spot as vice-president. If she does want a spot on the ticket, she has to perform a “delicate dance” to ensure she doesn’t push Obama around too much. [FirstRead/MSNBC]

• Chris Cillizza writes that Harold Ickes told supportive superdelegates that Clinton won’t give any thought to exiting the race until the primaries end tonight. Only an ever-tightening inner circle, Cillizza says, has “any idea what direction the campaign was headed over the next week.” [Fix/WP]

• Jonathan Allen thinks Clinton is “likely to suspend campaign activities Tuesday night” and may endorse Obama, but could still keep the option of becoming the nominee should something cause Obama to become “unviable” before the convention in August. [CQ Politics] —Dan Amira

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.

Clinton Keeps Us Guessing