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So NOW What Is Clinton Gonna Do?


Experts are pondering the relative weakness of the thumbs-up captured in this image.Photo: Getty Images

A quick recap of Clinton’s long weekend: The DNC settled the dispute (for now) over Michigan and Florida’s delegates. Barack Obama officially left his church of twenty years. And Clinton herself overwhelmingly won Puerto Rico’s tease of a primary (the island can’t vote in the general election). But she has probably run out of time. On Tuesday Montana and South Dakota cast the Democratic primary’s final votes, only, it’s likely, to push Obama just a little closer to clinching the delegate count. Both candidates plan speeches on Tuesday night (Obama in St. Paul, Minnesota, site of the GOP convention, and Clinton in New York City). Will Clinton fight the Michigan decision at the convention? Is she angling for 2012, as John Heilemann asserts? Or will she bow out gracefully in the coming days? The country is looking for answers.

• Mike Madden notes that any candidate who felt he or she still had a chance “wouldn’t have spent six hours dancing to Willie Colón on the back of a pickup truck” in Puerto Rico. The island trip was more of a “working vacation” for campaign staffers, who will soon be unemployed. [Salon]

• Indeed, Ben Smith reports that Clinton’s advance staffers — those who “arrange events around the country” — are being told to converge on New York City and that “their roles on the campaign are ending.” [Politico]

• David Corn wonders how seriously to take Harold Ickes’s threat to possibly appeal the DNC’s ruling on Michigan’s delegates at the convention in August. If Clinton suspends her campaign this week, it won’t really matter, but if they decide to fight on and “question the legitimacy of Obama’s victory, there will be problems.” Soon they’ll have to decide for certain, as they can’t continue to play it both ways. [CQ Politics]

• Adam Nagourney writes that Clinton, while certainly leaving the door open, wasn’t as gung-ho about fighting the DNC’s decision on Michigan’s delegates as Harold Ickes. When asked how she would respond when Obama surpassed the new delegate threshold, likely this week, she said, “I just don’t think about it.” [NYT]

• Andrew Sullivan writes that we don’t know exactly how Clinton will react to the “inconvenient truth” of Obama crossing the threshold because “very few people have yet approached Her Majesty to ask what she actually intends to do.” [Times UK]

• Peter Wallsten writes that many of Clinton’s supporters would rather she didn’t fight the DNC’s decision, preferring the Democrats unite against John McCain sooner rather than later. [LAT]

• Jennifer Rubin thinks all Clinton has left to do is sit back for a couple of months, await some more YouTube clips that are damaging to Obama, and hope that the superdelegates come “scurrying back” to her. [Contentions/Commentary]

• James Fallows speculates that since the Clintons believe there is zero chance of Obama beating McCain in November, they’d have no qualms about staying in the race and fighting all the way to the convention. But since others don’t see it that way, she’ll soon be forced to “switch back to the ‘I am so proud to be here with Barack Obama’ mode” and campaign for her Democratic opponent, letting everyone else realize in the end how right she was. [Atlantic]

• Anne E. Kornblut reports that Clinton still plans, “with renewed vigor,” to try to convince superdelegates of her case in the coming days, and that she didn’t hint at a departure from the race. [WP]

• Chuck Todd and friends see evidence all around that Clinton may not leave the race “without a fight.” At the same time, she now has the chance to “make bygones be bygones” and “quell the resentment brewing among some of her ardent female supporters.” They wonder when she might do so, and what she will say when she does. [First Read/MSNBC]
Dan Amira

Hillary Clinton’s Long Weekend
Heilemann: What Hillary Wants, and Why She’s Jesse Jackson ’88

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.

So NOW What Is Clinton Gonna Do?