October 30th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

Henry in the House: Meek story shows Dem fears of Senate wipeout

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/10/29/meek.democrat.fears/t1larg.meekclinton.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Kendrick Meek, left, is still running for the Senate in Florida, despite reports former President Clinton asked him to quit." width=300 height=169]

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Washington (CNN) - The point that many people seem to be missing in the Florida Senate saga is that this whole mess actually has very little to do with Rep. Kendrick Meek or the Sunshine State - it's all about a much broader fear among senior Democrats that they may be about to lose control of the chamber.

There are some fascinating inside details I've been able to piece together about how and why this Meek story exploded into the public.

In the words of one senior Democratic Party official, the Meek story came to a head because former President Bill Clinton "flew into a purple rage" about the Democratic candidate breaking a private pledge to him to get out of the Senate race and endorse independent candidate Charlie Crist.

But a source close to Clinton said he "never saw anything close" to rage from the former president, who is at peace with how this wound up.

"He always believed this was Meek's decision,' said the source close to Clinton.

As for the Obama adminstiration's role in this, I'm told by senior Democratic officials that while White House aides were in the loop on the Clinton-Meek talks, they were not driving the conversation and were not lobbying Meek to go.

I'm also told that senior officials deliberately kept President Obama out of the loop on these behind-the-scenes conversations because they did not want to get him personally tainted by the Meek story. That came no doubt in part because they didn't want it to blow up in his face like the botched attempt to get Joe Sestak out of the Democratic primary in the Pennsylvania Senate race so many months ago. (Clinton was the intermediary then, too).

But all the jockeying and horse-trading is really just a sideshow. The real story is how bad the broader electoral map has gotten for Democrats heading into the final weekend of this midterm election: Top Democratic officials privately say they believe they are going to lose the House, but as they survey the country they are getting increasingly worried they will also lose the Senate.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Ed Henry • Raw Politics
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. John Stafford, J.D.

    IF, on the other hand, Ed Henry was labeling the Democrats with "this mess", he is right. I warned my UW Law School roommate & my former U.S. Senate fellow Staffer, Cong. Norm Dicks beginning 3 years ago, that these 3 Pelosi/Reid/Obama fools could literally SINK the formerly great Democratic Party. Like the Whigs, they MAY be facing oblivion. Beginning over 40 years ago, I briefed Norm & Sen. Jackson & Gerry Grinstein & a host of my then-fellow Democrats on the rise of independent voters. All has come to pass just as I had forecasted, both in politics, the gold & oil & stoc & bond markets, & re. the coming economic Crash & Depression we are now into, EXACTLY as I had briefed my Senators in 1976 that it WOULD, & right on this time schedule. And it, like "El Nino",is due NOT to "Bush" or even Obama, but rather is CAUSED BY this natural & inevitable 40-year macro-economic cycle-just like in 1969, 1929, 1889, 1849, 1809, 1769, 1729, etc., ALL of which Crashes & Depressions were followed closely by ALL of our major wars. Check it out.

    October 31, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  2. Maria

    This is not the first incident of Clinton, this White House and many of the dems blurring the line, but if a conservative or republican pulled this every so called "news station" would have been all over it calling for an investigation. And with behavior like this this White House and the dems maybe "driving" but unfortunately their driving our great nation directly to the DUMP!

    October 31, 2010 at 1:42 am |
  3. Prue

    Somebody's lying. One anonymous insider says Clinton flew into a "purple rage", another says it didn't happen.
    It doesn't really matter because they didn't give Meek much support to begin with, and Marco Rubio leads at 45% with Crist at 27%, Meek at 20% according to the latest Mason-Dixon polling where they state that there is no way for Meek or Crist to beat Rubio.
    What a mess-up by Democrats! They'll anger Meek's supporters who may just forego voting on Tuesday and then what? The Dems will lose other races, such as the one between Alex Sink and Rick Scott.

    October 30, 2010 at 4:15 pm |