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Clinton: Will Do 'Whatever it Takes' to Elect a Democrat

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said she was willing to do "whatever it takes" to elect a Democrat in the fall in response to a question from Rep. Nydia Velasquez about the vice presidency during a recently completed conference call with the New York congressional delegation.

Velasquez, a prominent Clinton supporter and Latina, voiced concern that without Clinton on the national ticket, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) might not be able to win the Hispanic vote in the numbers required to claim the presidency, according to someone on the call.

Clinton did not directly address the idea of serving as Obama's second in command, but did make clear that she would do whatever was required of her to help elect a Democrat to the White House in November.

It is the second time in the last few days that Clinton failed to bat down speculation that she may be interested in serving as vice president. In a phone interview with the Post's Anne Kornblut over the weekend, Clinton dodged when asked whether her husband --former President Bill Clinton -- was working behind the scenes to get her on the national ticket.

"I do not believe that is happening," she said. "It's not -- you know, I'm not aware of it."

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it's important to remember that refusing to rule out the possibility of serving as vice president is not at all the same as saying you are actively interested in the job.

Our sense is that Clinton wants to preserve as many options as possible at this point, but has not thought seriously about what the future holds for her politically just yet. Clinton said as much on the call, noting that she is focused entirely on the primaries in South Dakota and Montana today.

For Clinton, figuring out her next move will be the work of the next few days. Aides to the senator insist there has been no talk of what's next for her as she has focused exclusively on a day-to-day sort of campaign over the last few months.

Clinton is clearly aware that she holds considerable power -- still -- within the Democratic party, having won more than 17 million votes as well as strong majorities among key groups like Latinos and working-class voters in the Rust Belt.

Regardless of whether she winds up on the Democratic ticket, Clinton is almost certain to be an active presence on the campaign trail for Obama as well as other Democratic candidates for House, Senate and governor. Such a level of activity is likely to help rehabilitate her image within the party among those who have felt alienated from her during this protracted primary campaign. It will also build up considerable good will for her among elected officials for whatever opportunities she pursues in the future.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 3, 2008; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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