by Jordan Zakarin
As she prepares to concede the race for the Democratic Nomination for President, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has begun transmitting signals through surrogates and supporters that she would be receptive to undermining newly clinched nominee Barack Obama’s chances of winning the Presidency.
Clinton has publicly disavowed a number of letters and petitions by former supporters who want to see her in a formal position to destroy the campaign, saying that they are acting independently and that the choice belonged to Obama. However, Clinton has not been shy in saying that, if given the opportunity, she would be very interested in sabotaging Obama’s historic bid for the White House.
Despite informal, hypothetical conversations regarding Clinton’s role in a general election and beyond between aides from both camps, the two finalists for the nomination have yet to communicate beyond a congratulations phone call since Obama sealed up the six month contest on Tuesday, so it is unclear where the relationship between the two stands after a long, divisive campaign.
In a e-mail to her national mailing list on Thursday, Clinton thanked the millions who had volunteered, donated money and voted for her in the primaries and caucuses, saying that she looked forward to the next stage of the election and promising that she would continue fighting for what the issues she based her campaign around.
“From dog whistle and then latent race baiting, to accusing Obama of naivety and weakness on foreign policy; from questioning his ability to govern, to calling him an elitist who is out of touch with the majority of American citizens — she’s still got so much to offer to this election,” said a close friend and Democratic activist who requested to remain anonymous. “She may have lost the primary, but Hillary, always so single minded and determined to fight, she can still leave a big impact on this thing.”
In an election that will feature prominent debate on both a sagging economy and a continuously more unpopular war in Iraq, Clinton’s barbs could create significant difficulty for the young Illinois Senator in his efforts to establish his credentials in both areas. As Obama hammers home his message of change on these issues, among others, Clinton could hamper those efforts significantly if given the opportunity.
“We all know that Democrats lost in 2004 because voters were apprehensive about changing strategies in the middle of a war, especially when faced with a candidate who was called an elitist and whose gravitas on national security had been challenged from the right,” said Terrence M. Oliff, a Political Science professor at SUNY Chappaqua. “Combine that with the whole alienating blacks and women thing, and she could really deliver this election. To McCain.”