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May 14th, 2008
01:20 PM ET

How Hillary Clinton must handle the endgame

David Gergen
360° Contributor

Her landslide victory gives Hillary Clinton a large measure of vindication for staying in the race. Clearly, many Democrats want to continue the race until the primaries and caucuses conclude, and she is giving voice to their legitimate concerns about the economy. The party will be much better positioned in the fall if it fully hears the anxieties of voters about their lives and can respond not only with a sense of hope but with a set of ideas and policies that will put America's house in order. The continued Clinton campaign is giving the public a chance to be more fully heard.

Yet it is also clear that unless the wheels come totally off the Obama campaign - and there is no sign of that, just the opposite - he will soon have the nomination in his grasp. That raises two questions for Mrs. Clinton:

Will she go gracefully?
It will make a huge difference in the fall to Obama how she leaves the race and whether she gives him full-hearted support this fall. It is doubtful that she can deliver white, blue collar male voters to him (Bill can probably do a better job of that), but she will be pivotal in helping to bring women voters to his side, especially older ones who are angry that Obama has denied them the best chance of their lifetimes to have a woman in the White House.

Second, will she help to put a stop to the rising signs of racism that are creeping into the campaign? No less than a fifth of her voters in West Virginia yesterday said that race was a factor in their decision of how to vote. Hillary Clinton has a long record of being a champion of civil rights. How embarrassing for her is it that she is now receiving votes from people who don't like Obama because he is black? Why isn't she standing up to these signs of racism? It strikes me that she would do the country - and herself (not to mention Obama) - a great service if she would say, "You know what. If you don't like Obama because he is black, I would rather not have your vote. I have stood for equality all of my life and I stand there today. Please vote for someone else. And beyond that, let me say that the time has come to stop attacking my opponent because of his relationship with Reverend Wright. I have been campaigning against Barack Obama for months now, and while we have our differences, I know one thing for sure: he does not share the values or the views of Reverend Wright." If she would come out four-square on this issue, she would become a heroine to people of every persuasion - and she would be doing the right thing.

Finally, a word about the stunning results from the Mississippi congressional race yesterday. Democrats have now shown convincingly that with the winds blowing against Republicans this year, they can win in southern states like Mississippi and Louisiana when they have candidates who are not way over on the left. Barack Obama saw the power of moderate Democratic candidates up close in Pennsylvania when he linked up with Bob Casey, a man who won a Senate seat recently with a very moderate set of positions. The recent Congressional defeats for Republicans have, in my judgment, given a great boost to the idea that an ideal vice presidential candidate for Obama might just be - yes, Sam Nunn!

On to Oregon and Kentucky!


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Tony AKA (mugahead)

    Demacrats! Do you all still think Hillary can still win? Well I took the time to do the real math under Hillary’s math, which includes FL and MI. Here is what I came up with. You can see for your self.
    Kentucky only has 51 delegates. Based on many polls it is believed that she will win. So I gave her 56%. She gets 28 delegates. That gives Obama 23 delegates. Then the polls suggest that Montana will go to Obama. It has a total of 16 delegates. To be fair I gave him 56%. He gets 9 delegates. Hillary will get 7. The polls say that Oregon will go to Obama as well. It has 52 delegates. So that’s 56% for him. He gets 29 delegates. Hillary will get 23. The polls also suggest that South Dakota will go to Obama. It has 15 of them. Another 56% to him. He gets 9 delegates. Hillary will get 6. Then the polls suggest that Hillary will take Puerto Rico. It has 55 of them. So she gets 56%. That will give her 31 delegates. Obama will get 24. Then for sake of argument lets say that the remaining super delegates are split 50 – 50. That will give each of them 120 delegates.
    Now lets do some math. Hillary- 28 + 7 + 23 + 6 + 31 + 120 = 184 delegates added to her 1718 = 1902 delegates. Under her math, which includes FL & MI, it goes like this: As it stands Hillary has won both of those states by about 55%. So I’ll give her the 55% and add it to her total. That gives her 102 more delegates. So 1902 + 102 + 2004 delegates. So now we can se that she wont even get a win even if she had both FL & MI. The total to win under the current math is 2025. Under her math to win you need 2210 delegates.
    Remember that Obama will get 45% of Fl & MI as well. That will give him 83 delegates. Let’s add that to his totals. 23 + 9 + 29 + 9 + 24 + 120 super = 214 + his already earned 1884 = 2098 a win under the current math. Now for the added 83 from FL & MI. 2098 + 83 = 2181 not winning under her math but a lot closer then she is.
    With her math she and him will fight this is court. That is the only way she can win. That is what she wants. She wants to take us voters down a hard long drug out battle in a courtroom fighting for months over this crap. Do you all really want to go down that road? As your selves that question them try to get a good nights worth of sleep. Good luck!!
    Oh one more thing! I did not add the delegates of John Edwards. He had 19 of them. If you add those to Hillary’s totals you get this. 2004 + 19 = 2023. It still not a win no mater who’s math you use. Add the number to Obama’s, you get 2181 + 19 = 2200. A clear win under the current math and not a win under her math. It is clear to me that Hillary is looking for a long court battle and wishing for a miracle.

    May 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  2. I. Endeavor

    The rising signs of racism?

    Racism has been as apparent as the black part of every major city in this nation for as long as I've been alive. Look at our prison statistics and know that we are NOTHING, if not racist.

    Sooo...is it because we're pretending we're not racist that we are letting rising signs of sexism slide?

    How many college co-eds were murdered this year? I mean aside from the MASSACRES, of course. How many wives and former girlfriends have gone missing or shown up dead?

    And Barack Can-Do-No-Wrong Obama gets to casually dismiss his "bad habit" of slinging endearments at professional women who are not even known to him, much less his Sweetie? It diminishes the woman. Therefore elevates the man, yes?

    As of May 2007, the reported FACT was that women are paid less than men, in the same positions and with the same education/training, in every state of this nation. Our Senate's recent vote NO! NOT YET, EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN! suggests that this travesty has not only not been corrected, it isn't even slated for correction.

    Sweetie, the reason we are promoting him over you, though your work, is because you might get pregnant and go on maternity leave, or even retire. He's more BANKABLE, you're more of a risk...it's nothing personal Sweetie, we love you, but this is business.

    The reason we pay him more than we pay you is because he has a wife and family to support...you understand that, don't you Sweetie? Good girl...now, just run along and don't worry your pretty head.

    We are at war with a nation that subjugates and brutalizes its women, can we just bear that in mind?

    Setting sexism aside, if Donald Rumsfeld had dismissed a journalist...who was asking an important question, by the way...with "Just a minute, Kiddo," the Opposition would gave gone the blogosphere's version of ballistic.

    But WHY let sexism aside? Casually diminishing women with insincere endearments is more than "a bad habit."

    May 15, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  3. Yvonne

    Unfortunately, her largest wins have been a testament to the nation's lingering struggle with racial prejudice. This is being played out for the whole world to see. I grew up in Pennsylvania and know first hand the level of racial intolerance common there as well as West Virginia.

    How can Senator Clinton be proud of the statements she has made indicating that the white, working-class voters will not vote for Senator Obama... she should be ashamed of herself spouting this as if it is a bage of courage.

    If she wants to end this race with any level of respect, and leave a legacy to be proud of, she should denounce her part in this and move toward building ONE AMERICA!!

    May 15, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  4. josh

    will some one please let hillary know that dinner is over and she can leave now?
    her aguements to me are senseless. barack has shown that he can win more red states in the south and more swing states. the percentage by which he gets the white vote is much higher than the percentage by which she getss the black vote, even though blacks are only about 12% of our population.

    May 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  5. American Patriot

    I'd like to set the record straight .The majority of AA's are not "abandoning" B. Clinton but choosing the candidate that offers the most inclusive hope as they've always done (e.g. JFK, Carter ,Clinton.) If it were on ethnicity alone ,the Rev's Jackson & Sharpton should have had larger support in tne AA community. in this campaign the racial divisiveness began thru the Clinton's for obvious reasons.They should apologize to the country for agitating a problem that you'd expect someone in their position to lend resolution.The bottom line is any strides Black leaders have made benefited far more than than the AA community & that's how true leadership should be,inclusive.

    May 15, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  6. Mitzi Duxbury

    Initially, I was not a Hilliary supporter, but the more I see and hear her, and the more the press bashes her, the stronger supporter of Hilliary I become. Obama can give a great prepared speech.. he would truly make a great motivational speaker, a pastor, or a used car salesman. Without his notes or teleprompter– there is nothing. He whines if debate interviewers ask him tough questions, and mobilizes with blind loyal followers to mount protesters against the interviewer. then he refuses to debate. I find him arrogant , very much like GWB, a little prince who is entitled. I will never vote for him- Many of us plan to write in Hilliary's name in November, if Obama. The Obama coddling press should NOT determin who our candidates are! enough already. MLD

    May 15, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  7. Desire - Michigan

    Why is everybody accusing white voters for racism? Black people where overwhelmingly for Hillary when she announced her candidacy. Then suddenly 95% of them turned their back to white women candidate and went for black candidate. If this is not racism than what is it?

    May 15, 2008 at 11:27 am |
  8. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    I'm disappointed that the DNC wont see the votes to the end and seems to want to simply take me out of this chance to cast my vote. I live in South Dakota and by all comments I hear and read, I simply don't count. I am expect to side with Obama "just because" I support Hillary. That is not going to happen. Obama himself plays the race card by his constant reminders of "pity the poor little black boy" who grew up in Hawaii and private schools. He has no real record in the Illinois senate or in the Senate in Washington. My vote for McCain in November will be because Obama is not what I want to see in the White House. His own actions forbid me to vote for the complete unknown. I will live with my November vote if Obama is my only Democratic choice.

    May 15, 2008 at 10:10 am |
  9. William Joseph Miller

    Last night I accidentally saw Anderson Cooper while working out. One of the pundits on the show claimed Barack Obama did not have any "fresh" ideas. Here are some of Obama's ideas on the environment. I got them from a recent issues of Newsweek magazine from an article titled the Tree of Us by Jerry Alder.

    Obama wants the following
    1. A cap-and-trade syste to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
    2. Raising the efficiency standard of automobiles to 52 miles per gallon by 2026
    3. Renewable energy to generate 25 % of US electricity by 2025
    4. Having biofuels supply 60 billions gallons if fuel by 2030
    5. He does support coal-to-liquid fuels if they emit 20% less carbon than conventional gas.
    6. Believes that nuclear power is 'not optimal" but sill should be used as an energy source.

    Obama's positions have a few flaws, albeit he has done some back-pedaling on certain ideas like clean coal. Syn-gas is environmentally a very dirty process, as is coal mining which pollutes the air and water supply. Nuclear power poses severe and costly problems with the storage of nuclear waste, as well as environmental damage. Obama also does not consider the possibility of producing algae from the emissions of coal-fueled nuclear plants, which could be turned into biofiel. He needs to specify that biofuels must come from supplies that do not compete with food crops. Corn ethanol is a lousy biofuel. He also needs to find ways to save the rain forests which are extremely efficient means of capturing carbon emissions. Like Clinton and McCain, Obama has said nothing about the rising level of methane in the atmosphere – a far more deadly gas that carbon dioxide

    And according to recent reports by James Hansen,the chief climatologist of NASA, these stands are timid. By 2012, the polar ice cape will be gone. The Antarctic ice cab is melting rapidly. If we do not act decisively in the next 3 years – our whole civilization is doomed.

    So your pundits are misinformed when they say Obama does not have any ideas. They simply do not cover those ideas. In terms of the environment. , while some of Obama's ideas need revision, they are far sounder than McCain's which amount to a perpetual gas tax holiday and promote nuclear power, which only mean higher energy bills for the future.

    May 15, 2008 at 10:09 am |
  10. Pat M

    I don't understand what the Obama supporters see as being him having proven himself? The only statement they make in regard to his proving himself is the way he has conducted his campaign. How soon we forget. Obama's Campaign made as many if not more attacks than the Clinton Campaign and also were first out the door with those attacks.

    I also don't feel Americans need comments like those of David Gergen's at this time. If I was a Voter in WV I would be very ired at being called a Racist for nothing more than employing my right as an American to choose a Candidate of my choice!

    It is not the Candidates that are using Race as an issue it is the Media and the American citizens and it has to stop. It is destroying this Campaign and turning Demomcrats against Democrats. Surely Americans can see it is this type of destruction that is MAKING Republicans Smile. If Democrats want to see their Candidate in the White House it is time to unite and see both Democrat Candidates as Viable Contenders based on their leadership qualities, the issues and their plan of action on the same. Stop letting Media Hype interfer with what is truly important ! At the end of the day, it is Americans that will suffer if the wrong choice is made.

    May 15, 2008 at 10:02 am |
  11. Andrew Korkes

    I happen to be one of the older blue collar voters that BO has been having so much trouble with. He has not been able to pull the wool over my eyes. It is not about color it is about ability and honesty.
    He claims to be an agent for change yet is supported by the Kennedys for gods sake ! Edwards and Kerry and Dodd oh my. You can not get anymore inside washington than these guys.
    Are you all blind ? He went to Wrights church for 20 yes t w e n t y years and claims he had no idea about Wrights beliefs. Ever been to church ? Ever been able to keep a secret about your reverend , pastor or priest ? I did not think so. Is he deaf ? He borrowed a speech from the governer of Mass. and never gave him any credit untiil BO got caught. He did not have the sense to keep his name on the Michigan ballot. He did miserable in debates where he has to think on his feet and could not coherently answer a question about why he loved his country. He refused a revote sponsored by governer Corzine, James Carville and others. He is a good orator but where I live bs walks action talks. Should BO win the nomination I am voting for Mccain in November , the rest of my ticket will be straight democrat. With both the house and senate will keep Mccain in check until Hillary can run again in 2012 . I am sorry to tell the rest of you your king has no clothes.

    May 15, 2008 at 6:39 am |
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