This is interesting news. I have worked through the campaigns today — and while I don’t have all the detail on which campaigns did what exact back deals, I know that the Hillary Clinton campaign approached every single one of the others.
Her emissaries approached Biden, Dodd, Richardson, and Kucinich — and all of them turned her down. They all cut arrangements with Obama or Edwards.
Another bit of news that I received — and I’ll be honest — it confuses me. . .is that Bill Clinton has been pushing behind the scenes for months for Hillary to be the “optimist.” He wanted a feel good campaign — based on generating optimism in the future, rebuilding “trust” at home and “trust” abroad. Various folks I have chatted with tell me that some of the deep insiders near Clinton snickered behind the former President’s back and pushed Hillary toward a tone of “heavy times” and seriousness.
I need to report that I’m aware that other top tier journalists I can’t name have been suggesting the opposite — that a couple of months ago, some of them think that Bill Clinton was encouraging Hillary to go tough and negative against Obama.
I can’t connect these contradictory reports — but the sources on the “Bill wanted optimism” risked a lot by sharing what they did, and the scenario makes sense. The various campaign sources and close advisers I have chatted with say that Hillary has no choice now, however — and she must go negative in New Hampshire. Bill Clinton apparently kept saying “Americans want optimism; they want someone who will help them feel good. . .”
In any case. . .interesting stuff bubbling out of the campaigns.
One other item, I learned that just before Hillary Clinton went out to give her speech last night — she lined up her team, her key advisers — and was told that it seemed like the “paint was peeling off the walls.”
I didn’t quite know what that meant actually — but I’ve learned since that it meant the room was tense and Hillary was pissed.
My hunch in all of this is that those who get big demerits at the moment are those who pushed Hillary to be the somber, serious voice and those who crafted “the inevitability” campaign — and those who didn’t develop a strategy to take advantage of the fact that Iowa is the only place in the country where folks get to vote twice. Some of the internal criticism inside the campaign is being directed at Patti Solis Doyle — as it was her job apparently to organize the most effective approach toward the complex Iowa Caucus system.
One of the folks I spoke to today inside the Hillary camp said that the campaign really never figured out the caucuses — and certainly was ill-prepared for the 2nd vote phenomena.
I find that hard to believe. Haven’t we all been thinking about the movement of the 2nd choice votes for weeks? And haven’t Hillary and the other candidates been bouncing between Iowa’s nooks and crannies forever? I’m not sure I buy the notion that they were ill-prepared. . .but I do think that the Clinton campaign somehow failed to connect on message.
— Steve Clemons