Clinton back in N.Y. as final primaries take place

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) pushed through SouthDakota Monday as an air of finality and resignation began to settlein among her supporters, aides and financial backers. "It's probably just too

News 12 Staff

Jun 3, 2008, 1:09 PM

Updated 5,832 days ago

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Clinton back in N.Y. as final primaries take place
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) pushed through SouthDakota Monday as an air of finality and resignation began to settlein among her supporters, aides and financial backers. "It's probably just too late," said Darlene Kolda, a retiredretail worker in Yankton, S.D., of her decision to vote for theformer first lady. "I hope she runs again if she doesn't makeit." From that town along the Lewis and Clark Trail to a campaignstop by former President Clinton in Milbank, S.D., there wereabundant signs that her historic run for the presidency was closingout. "I want to say also that this may be the last day I'm everinvolved in a campaign of this kind," Bill Clinton said. In a rare departure from the campaign trail, the New Yorksenator and former first lady planned to hold an end-of-primaryrally in New York Tuesday night, inviting donors and offering tofly field staffers from around the country to attend. She had noother events scheduled for Tuesday and aides said she planned to beon the telephone calling superdelegates in a final effort toundercut Barack Obama's lead. Aides stressed she had no plans to withdraw from the raceTuesday night. But Clinton field hands who worked in key battlegrounds saidthey were told to stand down, without pay, and await instructions.Speaking not for attribution because they didn't want to jeopardizetheir jobs searches, many said they were peddling resumes,returning to their hometowns or seeking out former employers. Clinton superdelegates held a conference call with seniorClinton adviser Harold Ickes Monday afternoon, a regularlyscheduled event that at least one participant described as beingpart congratulations and part farewell. Ickes also spoke by conference call to members of Clinton'sfinance committee, where he said she almost certainly would notappeal a Democratic Party rules committee decision giving her fewerdelegates from Michigan than she thought she had earned. Clintonsignaled Saturday she might appeal the ruling, which would havedragged the nomination fight to the party's convention in August. Clinton campaigned in Yankton with daughter Chelsea Clinton andboth ended the day in Sioux Falls with her husband before flyingeast. South Dakota and Montana hold the final two primariesTuesday, with 31 delegates at stake. Clinton kept a vigorous campaign pace on Monday, journeying fromRapid City to Yankton to Sioux Falls. In an unusual display of thewear and tear, in Yankton she misnamed the city's mayor in ablunder the campaign blamed on poor staff work. Then she twice hadto hand the microphone to Chelsea Clinton when a cough temporarilyleft her unable to speak. She picked up seamlessly, advocating hermother's demand for universal health care. "I'm glad she's still standing up for it even though she can'talways talk about it in this campaign," the younger Clinton joked. Clinton's advisers privately predicted she would lose bothcontests. She planned to meet with advisers at her home inChappaqua, N.Y., on Tuesday. Campaign officials said she planned to consider all optionsuntil Obama secured the number of delegates needed to clinch thenomination. But while the Democratic Party has now set thethreshold for the nomination as 2,118 delegates, Clinton aideswould not concede that number as the determinative total. But Hassan Nemazee, a national co-chairman of Clinton's financecommittee, said that if Obama succeeded in reaching the delegatethreshold Tuesday, Clinton would have little reason to continue hercandidacy. "If one candidate has the requisite number of delegates, bothpledged and super, it makes it far more difficult to make thecredible argument that she stay in on the chance that somesuperdelegates might change their mind and endorse her later,"Nemazee said. Clinton was scheduled to address the national conference ofAIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in WashingtonWednesday, as was Obama. Even with her chances of wresting the nomination from Obama allbut extinguished, Clinton's supporters and advisers were callinguncommitted superdelegates to persuade them to back her candidacyor hold off from endorsing Obama until the voting in the finalprimaries was over. Indeed, two new superdelegates - one fromLouisiana and one from New York - announced Monday they wouldsupport Clinton, but Obama was picking up even more. Mark Aronchick, a national fundraiser for Clinton based inPhiladelphia, said he was calling "any superdelegate I know"including those who have publicly endorsed Obama in hopes ofwinning their support. While he said he expected Clinton to stay inthe race until Obama secured enough delegates for the nomination,he acknowledged that she faced long odds. "We're not withdrawing. We're not conceding. We're going on tothe end," Aronchick said, adding that whatever the outcome,Democrats would have to move quickly to restore party unity "fromtop to bottom." Other prominent supporters who have been with Clinton for monthssaid they would stay loyal until she made a decision going forward. "She should do what she perceives is best for her," said OhioGov. Ted Strickland, who helped Clinton to a resounding win in hisstate's March primary. Tellingly, though, the popular first-term governor didn't haveany public plan to campaign for Clinton anywhere Monday. In South Dakota, supporters at Tally's Restaurant waited morethan four hours for her to arrive. Many encouraged her to stay inthe race. "You keep fighting; you've got guts," Richard Willert, aretired carpenter told her. But there were signs that, at least here in the heartland,Clinton supporters did not bear animosity to Obama and could seethemselves voting for him as well. "I think he can be a leader," said Karen Schaefer, a retiredelementary school teacher.


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