Monday, March 10, 2008

Hillary's chutzpah

You've got to hand it to Hillary Clinton. Even when the chips are down -- in fact, perhaps most when the chips are down -- she's got a lot of chutzpah.

After her 3-for-4 showing on Super Tuesday II that featured anticipated wins in Ohio and Texas, Clinton began making comments about the potential for a so-called "dream ticket," which would feature herself and Barack Obama.

Never mind the fierce battle between the two. Never mind that pundits and Democratic activists have been floating the idea of such a "dream ticket" for the better part of two months. Never mind, even, that Clinton had stood at an Ohio news conference just days before and angrily decried two Obama advertisements in the state, declaring, "Shame on you, Barack Obama."

Bygones are bygones, I guess.

Or are they?

This article from British newspaper The Times details Clinton's new, three-pronged strategy to beat Obama: "Win the popular vote, secure reruns in Florida and Michigan and undermine Obama's credibility as the candidate to beat McCain," the paper says.

The Times notes that the disputed nomination contests in Michigan and Florida are key not only for their delegates, which are getting the most attention, but also for their popular votes -- more than 5.2 million between them.

"Obama leads Clinton by nearly 600,000 in the number of votes cast to date, but trails her by 30,000 if the votes of the two 'rogue' states are counted. These states are now likely to stage some form of rerun," The Times says.

Therefore, securing reruns is good in itself for the delegate count, but it could end up meaning more for the popular vote if it puts Clinton out in front.

Which brings us back to the "dream ticket" talk. Clinton has now mentioned it no fewer than three times since Wyoming's caucuses on Tuesday. It's not a bad strategy: If an ugly, internecine battle seems likely to drag on to the convention in August, Obama will come under pressure to "work something out" with his rival -- in other words, bow out. Clinton is laying that groundwork now.

Obama brushed off the talk last week but finally addressed it Monday. From CNN:

"With all due respect. I won twice as many states as Senator Clinton. I've won more of the popular vote than Senator Clinton. I have more delegates than Senator Clinton. So, I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering vice presidency to the person who's in first place," he said.

Obama also said the Clinton campaign was "hoodwinking" voters when it suggested he was not ready to be president while also floating the possibility of a joint
Clinton-Obama ticket.

"I don't understand," he said. "If I'm not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president?"

As the say, facts are stubborn things. But Clinton may be more stubborn.