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Clinton Campaign Manager Invokes Florida Recount

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (N.Y.) campaign manager compared calls for her candidate to leave the race to the 2000 Florida recount, a ratcheting-up of rhetoric in the ongoing debate over whether the New York Senator's candidacy is hindering Democrats' chances of winning back the White House this November.

"The last time we were told that we'd better cut the process short of the sky would fall was when the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount in 2000," wrote Maggie Williams in a memo e-mailed to superdelegates as well as reporters by the campaign. "But Chicken Little was wrong. What was true then is true now; there is nothing to fear -- and everything to gain -- from hearing from all of the voters."

Invoking Florida's recount, especially among superdelegates, is an interesting tactic by the Clinton operation and one sure to roil the emotions of Democratic voters. The belief that the 2000 election was stolen from Al Gore by some combination of Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush and the U.S. Supreme Court runs VERY strong among the Democratic base who view the way the recount proceeded as a first indicator of the way in which Republicans would govern from the White House.

The broader argument Williams is making in the memo -- the race remains close both among pledged delegates and in the raw vote -- is nothing new. After all, former President Bill Clinton argued the same case in a fundraising email over the weekend.

But, in politics, words matter. And choosing to compare the pressure Clinton is coming under to end her candidacy with the pressure on Gore to do the same in 2000 is sure to inflame the passions -- for good and for ill.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 1, 2008; 5:34 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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