Hillary Clinton has decided to end her presidential campaign and endorse Barack Obama, aides said Wednesday. Clinton talked first with donors and other supporters, who urged her to drop out for the sake of party unity, after declining to concede on Tuesday, when Obama won the last delegates he needed to clinch the Democratic nomination on the last day of the primary season. (Los Angeles Times)
What the commentators said
Clinton seemed like she had it made when the primaries began, said USA Today in an editorial. But her status as “best-known, best-financed, and most thoroughly informed candidate in the field” made her overconfident. She “did so many things wrong”—running as “an experienced Washington insider when voters wanted change,” giving “maddeningly unspecific answers” on the issues in debates, and never quite disentagling herself from her vote on the Iraq war.
Not only did she fail to repudiate her 2002 vote on the war, said Rosa Brooks in the Los Angeles Times, but “the resemblances between her campaign style and Bush's Iraq strategy become eerie and striking.” She “had no clear battle plan beyond the first weeks,” acted like “victory was inevitable,” and expected Democratic voters to “greet her as their liberator.” Then she was caught flat-footed by an Obama insurgency she hadn’t prepared for.
The “wounded sisterhood” thinks it was misogyny that killed Clinton’s chances, said Kathleen Parker in National Review Online. But the candidate who could have been the first woman nominated by a major party was really defeated by other factors. The fight over party rules that cost her big wins in Florida and Michigan certainly hurt, but Hillary’s biggest problem was her husband. Former president Bill Clinton has lost his touch, and couldn’t open his mouth this campaign without offending somebody.
The “litany of woulda, coulda, shoulda” could go on forever, said The Washington Post in an editorial. The campaign “inexplicably viewed caucus states as not meriting time and attention,” underestimated Obama’s appeal and fundraising prowess, and assumed the young crowds at his rallies wouldn’t show up at the polls. But don’t forget all that Clinton accomplished, and rest assured that the fierce fight made Obama a better candidate.