Senior Correspondent

Clinton urged to quit to avoid hurting Democratic prospects in November

Is Clinton setting Obama up to lose general election? (FCN, 04-25-2008)

WASHINGTON ( – Despite Sen. Barack Obama’s surprising double-digit victory over Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the North Carolina presidential primary and her narrow victory in Indiana, Sen. Clinton continues to cling to the diminishing possibility that she can somehow win the Democratic presidential nomination.


The May 4 results widened Sen. Obama’s lead in popular votes and in pledged delegates, and he continued to win pledges from “super delegates,” including more and more former Clinton supporters.

For her part, Sen. Clinton admitted loaning her own campaign another $6 million and continued injecting a negative race angle into the campaign. In her most blunt reference yet, Sen. Clinton suggested “White Americans” are increasingly turning away from the candidacy of Sen. Obama, who is Black.

“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” Mrs. Clinton said in an interview published May 8 in USA TODAY. She cited an Associated Press poll “that found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, White Americans, is weakening again, and how Whites in both (North Carolina and Indiana) who had not completed college were supporting me.

“There’s a pattern emerging here,” she said.

“The Clintons have used race, which I did not expect during the remainder of my lifetime,” Dr. David Bositis, a senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies told The Final Call.

“You should realize, I study and follow racially polarized voting and voting rights, and have for many years now, and for groups like Southern Republicans and Southern conservatives, it would not surprise me at all to see them engaging in racial tactics in terms of elections. But I never expected to see a Democratic presidential campaign mobilize race to attract White voters again in my lifetime, but the Clintons have,” he continued.

The tactic has not prevented the defection of high profile Clinton supporters worried about the possibility that Republican John McCain, of Arizona, might be able to win the general election in November–thanks to the harm done to Sen. Obama by Sen. Clinton’s tactics.

“I admire the way she’s tried to negotiate her own persona, her own position, her own place in our politics,” Bill Moyers, a legendary broadcaster and former White House Press Secretary for President Lyndon Johnson told Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now!”

“But if she stays in this race, it can only be at the expense, as I said, of her reputation and of Obama, because she can only move forward by attacking him, by continuing to say he can’t win in November, which is not true,” Mr. Moyers continued.

“I think the battle is about over,” former Sen. George McGovern, once a staunch Clinton ally who now supports Sen. Obama said in an interview, also on Democracy Now! “Sen. Obama has won almost a majority of the delegates. He’s way out in front, I think somewhere around a 150-delegate lead. I’m told that the superdelegates are about evenly divided between the two candidates, so that’s not going to change much if that ratio continues.”

Just one month ago Sen. McGovern was steadfast in his support of Mrs. Clinton. But now, like some other former Clinton supporters, he fears her campaign will have a corrosive affect on Sen. Obama in November and has switched sides.

“She has a right to stay in this race as long as she wishes,” said Sen. McGovern. “But I just hope we don’t see a repetition of ’72, the year I won the nomination. In the last month, a desperate move was made by the candidates I had defeated in 11 primaries, including the two biggest ones, New York and California.

“I had that nomination all but won, too. But my opponents ganged up on me in that last month and continued that fight right on to the convention floor. So, it was a big gift to Richard Nixon, who was elected by a large majority in the fall campaign, partly because I was so scarred up during the battle for the nomination. I don’t want to see a repetition of that in 2008,” Sen. McGovern continued.

Another staunch Clinton backer fears that the recent media obsession with Sen. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, and with race has already fractured the party. That could be enough of a distraction, according to Rep. Charles Rangel, that it could help elect Sen. McCain, a worst case scenario for Democrats.

“There cannot be any importance to either of our Democratic candidates that’s more important than getting rid of the extension of George Bush,” Rep. Rangel told The Final Call May 7.

“George Bush, historically, would be known to be one of the most dangerous presidents to the health of the United States of America, and we’ve got a job to do, putting these pieces back together,” Mr. Rangel said of the fractured Democratic coalition.

Dr. Bositis also condemned the Bush presidency. “I would have to speak for two hours, in the voice of an auctioneer, to enumerate all of the things that are wrong with the country right now. Starting with: we’re in a recession, inflation, there’s a housing crisis, not only do you have foreclosures, people can no longer get home equity loans, people are being shut out of avenues of credit they had before. You have the dollar dropping precipitously against foreign currencies. You have record high oil and gas prices,” said Dr. Bositis.

“Even more unbelievable, you have food issues. I never, ever imagined that there would be food issues in the remainder of my lifetime in the United States. You have food issues. You’ve got an unpopular war where there’s no end in sight. You’ve got tremendous federal debt that’s going to have to eventually be dealt with. You have close to 50 million people without health insurance.

“If you turn off cable TV and actually look around the country right now, the country is in a colossal mess. And the response that’s going to happen to the colossal mess, is to punish the people who are responsible for the mess, and that is George Bush, and John McCain, and the Republicans,” he continued.

“I don’t think race is going to be a main issue in the general election,” Dr. Bositis insisted. “John McCain has his own pastor problem, which is a thousand times worse than Sen. Obama’s problem with (the Rev.) Wright. And ‘Pastor Bush’ is a weight around McCain’s neck, and he is going to drag McCain to a significant, probably a quite significant loss in the general election,” said Dr. Bositis.