Clinton Denies Saying Obama ‘Cannot Win’; Aides Dispute Question

By Ed O'Keefe

Apr 3, 2008 4:42pm

ABC News Eloise Harper Reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., denies she told Governor Bill Richardson, D-N.M., that her Democratic nomination rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., "cannot win" a general election against presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

"That’s a no," Clinton, D-N.Y., told reporters at the end of a press conference in Burbank, California, when asked if she made the comment in a private conversation with Richardson.

"We have been going back and forth in this campaign of who said what to whom and let me say this, that I don’t talk about private conversations but I have consistently made the case that I can win," she said earlier in the press conference.

Clinton aides now insist the Senator misunderstood the question, asserting the candidate believed she was answering whether or not she would discuss a private conversation.

“I just double checked,” Doug Hattaway, Clinton spokesperson told ABC News, “She was saying she was not going to tell (the reporter) about her private conversation.”

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reported on Wednesday’s World News that sources with direct knowledge of the conversation between Sen. Clinton and Richardson, prior to the Governor’s endorsement of Obama say she told him flatly, "He cannot win, Bill. He cannot win."


A source with direct knowledge of Richardson’s conversations with the Clintons added an intriguing wrinkle to the report: Richardson himself told Sen. Clinton and former President Clinton that he didn’t think Obama could win, back when he was (according to the Clintons) telling them earlier this year that he wouldn’t endorse Obama.

"Too inexperienced," Richardson said, the source tells ABC News.

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