Feature

What does Clinton want?

Hillary Clinton said she isn

What happened
Hillary Clinton said she would "make no decisions tonight" on whether to concede after rival Barack Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination, Tuesday. In the last two primaries of the 2008 race, Obama won Montana and Clinton won South Dakota. (Los Angeles Times, free registration)

What the commentators said
Obama “locked up the nomination,” said Dana Milbank in The Washington Post (free registration), but “Clinton spoke as if she were the victor.” In her non-concession speech, Clinton made no mention at all that “she had been mathematically eliminated” from the race. It may seem “self-delusional,” but her “defiance” shows how she sees the new “balance of power”—Obama now needs to “woo” her onto his ticket if he wants to win.

After her “ungracious” speech, said Roger Simon in Politico, inviting Clinton to be his No. 2 would be a very bad idea for Obama. If anything, her bullying “fighting words” make it more important that Obama “act like a president and not like a doormat.” The best way to show that he “can be tough, strong, and in charge” could be “denying her a vice presidential slot.”

“If she wants to be VP, Obama may not have much choice,” said Ed Morrissey in the blog Hot Air. She can “tie him up all summer” if she chooses. But seems like a pretty big “if” that she wants the VP nod. Since Clinton has been warning that Obama is “weak,” it wouldn’t then make sense for her to sign on for “a general-election debacle.”

Maybe she’s setting herself up to be “a legend,” an “Al Gore 2.0,” said A.C. Kleinheider in NashvillePost.com. Democrats were “never really all that enthused” about Gore in 2000—until they thought he was “denied victory by an unfair system.” Clinton’s speech set up “her own similar mythology as victim of a Democratic primary system flawly engineered to hand an unelectable candidate victory.”

Well, “Clintonologists know that Hillary is up to something,” said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times (free registration). The two main theories are 1) she thinks Obama is “too black, too weak, and too elitist” to “beat her pal John McCain,” and after he loses, she can take the mantle in 2012; and 2) being a “a heartbeat away from the job she’s always wanted” is better than nothing, because “bad stuff happens.”

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