Major Garrett at Fox News reports from Denver backrooms. “Top Clinton strategists, gathered by Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager Maggie Williams, met privately late Monday in Denver to plot convention strategy. The main topic: what to do about Wednesday’s roll call vote.” And the answer will not surprise you.
During the question-and-answer session, a person who attended the meeting informs The Bourbon Room, Williams said delegates still loyal to Clinton, even after her appeals to support Obama, should “vote their conscience.”
A Clinton ally who was not at the meeting but who spoke to Williams directly said the context was the delegates should vote their conscience if they felt they had no other choice. Meaning, if Clinton’s appeals weren’t enough, they must follow their deeply held beliefs. Williams explained after the meeting that it would have been insulting to tell delegates anything else. Williams said her “vote your conscience” line should not be interpreted as an act of sabotage against Obama, but merely a recognition that some Clinton supporters will do what they feel they must.
Time was when foes met each other in the open field at 20 paces, armed with a sparking pistol or separated by two yards of cold steel. Nowadays you don’t even know who your friends are. Who wants to go back to back in a knife-fight with Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Solis Doyle, Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? About the only thing you can say for that crew is that they must all understand each other perfectly. And what felicity of expression. Here for example is the most indirect expression of the words, “yer on yer own, bub” that I’ve ever heard.
The emerging consensus in Hillary’s camp is that Clinton can not be asked to solve Obama’s problem. They say it’s up to Obama to make the case for his economic policies and respond to persistent questions about his experience, toughness and vision. According to Clinton allies, no speech from Clinton or anyone else can do for Obama what he most needs to do for himself.
Which is that Obama should do what exactly? Oh never mind. Let your unconscious be your guide. And anyway, as far the appearances are concerned, it will be one big happy family.
The Obama campaign is leaving little to chance. It has created a rapid response team — led by Craig Smith, a former top operative in the Clinton world — to head out to the convention floor at the first sign of any trouble from Clinton supporters.
The Denver Post reports that convention organizers have hit upon a scheme to head off trouble by making delegates vote from their hotel rooms, thereby preventing dangerous concentrations of Clinton delegates from forming on the floor. “The move being worked out between the Obama campaign and officials behind Clinton’s suspended bid, would work in two parts: Delegates would cast votes at their hotels Wednesday morning; that night, at the Pepsi Center convention site, the roll-call process would rely on the votes cast that morning, the delegates said. ”
The move is being resisted by some Clinton delegates, who are busy tonight circulating a petition among delegates as the opening night of the convention, titled “One Nation,” gets underway. “We just want a roll call like you’re supposed to have,” said one of the delegates collecting signatures for the petition, who asked not to be named because of concern about friction within the party.
Rapid response teams, voting from forms placed in hotel rooms, delegates withholding their names, petitions being desperately collected — you’d think they were trying to keep the lid on rather expressing their exuberant joy at being blessed by the One. Yet with Obama’s poll numbers so close to McCain’s, Clinton seems genuinely afraid of being perceived as a reason for a possible BHO defeat. Under these circumstances, Hillary may simply expend her loyal supporters to make a deniable point, and still have it both ways.