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In Hillaryland, Few Clues to the Candidate's Plans

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) poses with a patron for a photograph at a restaurant called Herrera's on the day of the Texas presidential primary election in Dallas. (Reuters)

By Perry Bacon Jr.
HOUSTON -- In Hillaryland, the question is whether the candidate has stopped thinking about tomorrow.

Looking to win primaries in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island today, Hillary Clinton conducted more than 20 satellite interviews from the Four Seasons hotel in Houston.

The interviews mostly lasted three minutes, and were almost mirror images of one another. Ohio anchors asked about the North American Free Trade Agreement, a source of contention between Barack Obama and Clinton, while the Texas television hosts queried her about experience, which she has touted in ads in the state.

But everyone had a variation of the same question: What were the conditions under which Clinton would stay in the race after Tuesday? Did she feel she had to win Ohio, both Ohio and Texas, or none of the above to continue running? A poll published by The Post today suggests that, as long as she wins one of them, most Democrats are fine with Clinton continuing to campaign, despite her long odds of winning the nomination.

The candidate isn't interested in this topic at all. The CBS affiliate in Youngstown asked, "If things don't go in your favor, what are you plans? Would you drop our or would you continue on if Ohio doesn't go your way?"

"I think it's important we let the people of Ohio vote," Clinton said. "We want to hear their views."

So the reporters covering Clinton and even some of her supporters are looking for signals. And there's not a pattern. On Sunday, she was noncommittal about campaigning past Tuesday. The next day, she declared, "I'm just warming up," and talked about stumping in Pennsylvania. Her husband has said she needs to win both states; some of her aides seem to be suggesting she could lose Texas because of its complicated dual-caucus primary and continue running.

And then there are the more subtle things. A few days ago, she spoke in an almost wistful tone about "my embeds," referring to the now exhausted off-air television producers who have literally followed and captured on film her every move for months. (Each major candidate is followed by a group of off-air producers.)

During speeches, Clinton joked on her campaign trail, "I see all my embeds and they're hanging on every word, they never nod off, they never looked bored. You give me hope," she said, looking at one of them. (She was kidding, of course -- the embeds have heard her words over and over again and occasionally looked less than enthralled.)

But Clinton is not "wistful," and I know this because I asked her if she felt that way last week, and she adamantly said she was as determined to win as ever and not at all thinking of her campaign in the past tense.

On Monday night, after a rally in Austin, Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, gathered with a bunch of aides on the campaign plane for a picture that was the sort that happens at the end of campaigns. In Houston this morning, stopping at a polling site, Clinton lingered for almost an hour, posing for pictures with everyone in sight, worrying one of her campaign's volunteers who wondered if that meant she had gotten "some bad poll numbers" and Clinton was spending Tuesday as if this were her last campaign day.

And Clinton is talking to the press more than ever, too, perhaps befitting her status as the underdog as she seeks to blunt Obama's winning streak. Her aides bragged that while she has taken dozens of questions over the past few days, Obama left a press conference yesterday with reporters shouting questions at him.

But it's not as if Clinton is a much more relaxed figure. Some of the reporters here who have covered her for months say they don't exactly understand Clinton, and even though she was holding a beer as she was chatting with reporters on her plane on Sunday, Clinton remains a very disciplined candidate. That night she refused to detail any instances where her husband was awakened at 3 a.m. during his administration, the kind of situation Clinton cites in one of her television commercials touting her experience.

On Monday, she continued to complain about getting tougher press coverage than Obama and questioned her rival's honesty about how he described contact between Canadian officials and one of his economic advisers. And while her daughter briefly joined Clinton's traveling entourage, Chelsea Clinton did not spend what might be her last day as the child of a presidential candidate with Mom. She was campaigning in Rhode Island.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 4, 2008; 1:34 PM ET
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Next: Obama's Words of Caution


Have any of Hillary's Democratic opponents, including Obama, sought more detailed answers from her about stories such as:
• Norman Hsu and his bundling of money for her campaign?
• How "dishwashers, waiters and others" poured "$1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury?"
• Bill's trip to Kazakhstan with Canadian magnate, Frank Giustra, that netted Giustra $3 billion and Bill's foundation a $131 million contribution from Giustra?
• How powerful foreign donors to Bill's presidential library, such as the Saudis, may pose a serious conflict of interest to Hillary's foreign policy actions as president?
• How Bill's tangled ties to an investment concern of Clinton friend, Ron Burkle, and it's dealings with Dubai may yet, again, threaten to compromise Hillary Clinton's execution of foreign policy as president?
• The fact that with all of these questionable financial dealings, the Clintons have been unwilling to release their tax returns, especially in light of Hillary Clinton claiming that the $5 million she lent the campaign was "her own money?"
• And, finally, though we, as Democrats, don't care who Bill schtupps (and, no, none of us believe he has kept his fly zipped the last seven years), you can be damn sure the Republicans will be digging hard (no pun intended) to see just what Bill has been up to since leaving office.

Posted by: YesweCan1 | March 6, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Judging from what the Obama people tried to pull at some of the caucuses where people didn't actually have to vote, it reminds me of Chicago where they've always said dead people vote.

Posted by: katherine11 | March 5, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Geez, some of the comments on here. You would think instead of slinging false and silly statements, people would be cited credible points of interest.

Come on! Do real homework. Quit with doing the things that you accuse the candidates of doing. Think with wisdom.

If you support Obama, fine. He does need to take heat now, so if he does win the nomination he will be more prepared. He cannot change that. It's going to happen.

Hillary does know how it works, and she has been part of a witch hunt, but has not been bullied by it.

So, if you want to post something, let's see some substance, or encourangement. My goodness....this from people who want change?

Posted by: cyberaim | March 5, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This troll has been trying to get people to bite into this nonesense all over the place.

Petty ploy.


Posted by: cyberaim | March 5, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that I have not heard anywhere about Clintons involvement in Watergate, Whitewater, and the fact that she use to be a Republican? Do we proud Americans really forget peoples bad political history before we elect them into office? At what point did we forget who voted in NAFTA and destroyed so many jobs for americans only to now claim that she never supported NAFTA in the first place? So go ahead and vote her into office, but do not complain about the poor performance after she is there! Remember, in the animal world, the female is the most vicious, unpredictable, and dangerous!

Posted by: larenjoy | March 5, 2008 1:39 AM | Report abuse

"Hillaryland?" Whoever wrote this article must be part of Obama's high schoolers that have been commenting on this and the rest of the Post's blogs. None of you seem to be able to make a point without some kind of slur. Give it a rest, since cooler and more mature heads will end up prevailing. Sorry guys!

Posted by: mo897 | March 5, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

oops!!Cnn Wolf blitzer just injected a picture of 'famous terrorist'wanted by the fbi/ hello? with similar idealist expression obama had and still has. nasty Propaganda in ferocious action.

Posted by: tabita | March 4, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

From Taylor Marsh

MSNBC is covering this story right now.

I've been hearing this as well. But it seems the Obama campaign is trying to stack the deck in Texas, but also in Ohio. Marc Ambinder and Jeralyn have already written it up. Obama's campaign has been rebuked in Ohio, with Ambinder having the letter:

Ohio's Secretary of State, an office held by a Democrat, has rebuked Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for trying to staff precincts with poll workers who presented insufficient credentials.

As was just reported on MSNBC, Ohio has very strict rules on poll workers.

In Texas, the reports get worse. Obama's team are evidently copying caucus forms and having their supporters fill them out prior to the 7:15 p.m. deadline when the caucus is called to order. This means the voter wouldn't have to actually attend the caucus, but instead would simply have the Obama team hand in the caucus forms for the voter, which is clearly against the rules, which are very clear:

Participants may NOT begin signing in until the precinct convention has been called to order. The call to order may not occur until 7:15 p.m. OR whenever the last voter finishes voting at that polling location whichever is later. If, after the convention has been called to order and participants have signed in, any participant who wishes to leave may do so, and their sign in WILL count toward the delegate allocation for each candidate. Sign- In ends when the last person present waiting to sign in has done so.

This post brought to you by yet another example of Barack Obama's "change" agenda, on the way to a different kind of politics. Chicago style, baby.

Posted by: hgogo | March 4, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons are the Incumbents. They are the best candidates special interests money can buy. They are a seamless continuatin of that we now suffer; division, fear mongering, war, debt and zero accountability.

Posted by: x32792 | March 4, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama is slick.
Great smile and cut and paste style.

I fell out of love with him when he voted to fund Bushes wars without strings. Normally this would not bother me but with Obama it became clear all he cared about was his own political ego. His vote sold out the troops and the country for his political ego.

He can fool a lot of people with his cut an paste speeches but anyone who has watched his few Senate votes knows he full of himself.

Posted by: hhkeller | March 4, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Fear mongering, race baiting, religious prejudice and smears is no way to run a campaign and no way to run our Country.

Posted by: x32792 | March 4, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean, Harry Reid and other Democratic Party top echelon members will have to spell it out to the woman after today. She is bent on destruction of the party for some reason. I guess she figures that she has lost this yeat, but she will poison Barack's chance this fall. The woman thinks that she can run in 2012. Even if she can't she can be catty by ruining our party this year.

Posted by: sperrico | March 4, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

History shows that a Clinton rescued this country from a Bush policy and Bill led the country to economic prosperity and survival. History has to repeat itself to have the country survive from an even more venemous and economically destructive Bush. Lincoln Savings and Loan was a Bush product of economic destruction as well as Florida Bush now being shown to be more talk than performance for the people. Oh yes, he performed well for the big guys in grey suits ruling the world through finance and wars. See the effect of the DNA pool? McCain wants more boidybags, overseas spending, and more pain for the US citizens. Obama is Mr. Absent, not only from Illinois but also from the US Senate. Will someone please examine his Senate record and provide the data on the nightly news. He opposed the Iraq war when he was not a Senator that could vote. It is akin to Obama saying that he opposes a policy in rural China; he can not vote on it. Further, despite the younger generation becoming entranced by his rhetoric, they fail to see that absolute lack of substance. If the county now prefers form to substance; look out. With an Obama candidacy, unless every Democrat votes for him, Bodybag McCain will be President. I prefer to vote for Hillary Clinton. If she is not the candidate I will not vote. Let, the bodybags fall where they may.

Posted by: 188 | March 4, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse


If you drank the Hillary Kool-aide.

35 Years of what experience? What has she really accomplished? (other than forcing her husband to go out and look for strange...)

If the folks in Texas and Ohio ever do one thing right it would be to kill her campaign today.

Posted by: 1FLWB2 | March 4, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The woman will say anything to win. Here, she is praising the other side, so she can win. Does she have any respect for herself or for anyone? How can anyone respect her anymore? Read this statement and it is sickening the level of indecency she will stoop to. I wouldn't vote for her in a million years. It is either Obama or McCain. Neither of them would ever say this. McCain wouldn't even say this. Rove wouldn't praise the other side to win. Sickening.

"I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain [the presumptive Republican nominee] has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002"

Posted by: isometruman | March 4, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Can someone explain this one:

Archives to release Clinton schedules

"judge to delay the release of thousands of her (Hillary's when she was first-lady) telephone logs for one to two years."

Posted by: davidmwe | March 4, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

thanks laplume for link.
question: why is Hillary up at 3AM?
Insomnia? late partying? sleep deprivation might affect her judgment negatively.
However, If she REJECTS olmert's criminalincursion in gaza she has my vote.

Posted by: tabita | March 4, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

HILLARY: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE GO AWAY and leave us alone !!! And don't forget to take your sleazy, lying, cheating, rapist, disbarred, impeached husband with you.

Posted by: TedBlase | March 4, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

HILLARY: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE GO AWAY and leave us alone !!! And don't forget to take your sleazy, lying, cheating, rapist, disbarred, impeached husband with you.

Posted by: TedBlase | March 4, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

TO: the person who keeps posting his "Might be an idiot" commentary on nearly every blog out there (jacksmith). Cut it out! It's stupid!

You ARE an idiot if you think Hillary is Bill! Nearly every thing you say involves Bill and what he did as President. Let's not go backwards!

Posted by: pegwelch | March 4, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is hedging her bets and remember, lose lips sink ships. Hers was sinking. Has the leak been plugged?

Barack vs. Hillary- The Google Effect:

Posted by: davidmwe | March 4, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is allowed to change her mind.
She is a woman.

Posted by: xira | March 4, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse


If you think Barack Obama with little or no experience would be better than Hillary Clinton with 35 years experience.

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think that Obama with no experience can fix an economy on the verge of collapse better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) led the greatest economic expansion, and prosperity in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think that Obama with no experience fighting for universal health care can get it for you better than Hillary Clinton. Who anticipated this current health care crisis back in 1993, and fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds to get universal health care for all the American people.

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think that Obama with no experience can manage, and get us out of two wars better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) went to war only when he was convinced that he absolutely had to. Then completed the mission in record time against a nuclear power. AND DID NOT LOSE THE LIFE OF A SINGLE AMERICAN SOLDIER. NOT ONE!

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think that Obama with no experience saving the environment is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) left office with the greatest amount of environmental cleanup, and protections in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think that Obama with little or no education experience is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) made higher education affordable for every American. And created higher job demand and starting salary's than they had ever been before or since.

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think that Obama with no experience will be better than Hillary Clinton who spent 8 years at the right hand of President Bill Clinton. Who is already on record as one of the greatest Presidents in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think that you can change the way Washington works with pretty speeches from Obama, rather than with the experience, and political expertise of two master politicians ON YOUR SIDE like Hillary and Bill Clinton..

You Might Be An Idiot!

If you think all those Republicans voting for Obama in the Democratic primaries, and caucuses are doing so because they think he is a stronger Democratic candidate than Hillary Clinton. :-)

Best regards


Posted by: JackSmith1 | March 4, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

laplumelefirmament needs to know that the TV dimensions for a widescreen image are what caused Obama's image to be distorted spatially.

The Clinton ad shown is in a widescreen format. The aspect ratio is 16:9. For standard definition, the aspect ratio is 4:3.

Posted by: RussnCA | March 4, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Now that is just a pathetic lie. The fact that Obama is black is playing to his advantage not disadvantage! When I first heard Senator Obama in his famous speech in 2004, I was still in graduate school. I proclaimed that he'd be the first black US president. My roommate was more cautious and checked who his wife was and only agreed after finding out he married a black woman - "if he had married someone white, he won't be black enough to win the black vote!" Those were my roommate's words! Come to think about this now, it really makes me sad!

The Clintons have not a fiber of racism in them. Bill Clinton was even proclaimed as the first black president. Do you know that Bill Clinton was the first president to mandate that environmental impact statements for any federal projects have to be done in connection with racial and economical background (the executive order is still effective today). This is the executive order aimed to prevent things like garbage dump sites, nuclear waste sites from being built in mainly African American communities! The distortion of Bill Clinton's speech and intention in SC just makes me sick.

Hillary 08!

Posted by: lochness119 | March 4, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary Clinton is a major candidate," Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) said. "She has every right to stay in the race if she chooses to do so."

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse


She could stay in, even if she doesn't win today.

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

A win in Ohio is all that's needed for HRC to stay in the race. No wins today means that she has lost all relevancy and must get out.

Posted by: parkerfl | March 4, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Is it really news that a candidate facing elimination doesn't address that possibility? I know we're all just killing time waiting for results to come in, but can't we do better than write and talk about Sen Clinton's avoidance of the question she's been avoiding all week?

Posted by: bsimon | March 4, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the link laplumelefirmament I posted it on our website. This is really beneath contempt.

I am repeating myself here, but Hillary Clinton needs to stand down, if she doesn't want to damage the Democratic Party beyond repair. Really, you have the worst president ever and his party gets to win a presidential race in November? This would make the Democratic Party the laughing stock of much of Europe, believe me.

Posted by: old_europe | March 4, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

North AMERICAN Free Trade Agreement ; )

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: laplumelefirmament | March 4, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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