May 12, 2008
Talking Over Glossing Over (Bob Franken)
@ 10:53 am
The question of the week: "What makes Hillary run — STILL?" In other words, what earthly reason does she have to run a campaign she flat-out cannot win and fritter away money her campaign doesn't have?
There is a simple, two-word answer. No, no, no — not THOSE two words. I'm talking about "saving face.”
You can bet that it's the guiding principle as Clinton and Obama representatives, behind-the-scenes, play "Let's Make a Deal.” They are negotiating the conditions of a truce that will allow Hillary to surrender with dignity intact to her new best buddy Barack.
Will that include the vice presidential spot on the Obama ticket? I don't think so, but don't be at all surprised if the withdrawal package includes a public offer from him to be the No. 2, which, by private agreement, she graciously declines.
You can bet that the final announcements will say nothing about any money that Obama will contribute to bail out the Clinton operation, whose leaders spent millions like drunken sailors. Watch, though, to see how much information about that is leaked by "campaign sources.” It will be a good way to gauge the remaining hard feelings that the two sides will be trying to gloss over.
And then there's the Bill question. What about that bad boy? What role will the ex-president have as the campaign moves forward? Will Obama want him to have a role? Can any deal with Hillary include her husband? Could he be counted on to abide by the agreement? Bill Clinton could well be what negotiators call a sticking point.
The other big one is top-level staff. Will those hunkered down in HillaryLand be able to emerge and take orders from people they've spent so many months trying to destroy? And what will they do with the remaining kitchen sinks they no longer can throw at Obama?
These deals are not easy. But you can bet the back channels are humming between the two camps as they both create the final choreography. Actually it's a song-and-dance. The question is whether these two will now be able to perform a duet and then how easy it will be for Sen. Clinton to slip into her new role as a background singer.