Conference Call from Planet Clinton

By Saira Anees

May 7, 2008 10:59am

On a conference call just now, the Clinton campaign explained how they see the world this Wednesday morning.

Any discussions about Sen. Hillary Clinton dropping out?

"No," declared Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson. "No discussions."

Senior strategist Geoff Garin called Sen. Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory in Indiana "a close outcome but an outcome about which we feel very, very good." He said it was "he first time in this race that Sen. Clinton has come from behind to achieve a primary victory."

"These are two states we were supposed to lose," Wolfson said of Indiana and North Carolina.

Wolfson said the additional $6.425 million Clinton loaned herself in the last month — disclosed this morning — was not an indication that her fundraising has lagged, but rather that she is just trying to stay competitive with Sen. Barack Obama’s record-setting fundraising.

The loans, Wolfson said, indicate "Senator Clinton’s commitment to the race and a commitment to being competitive with Senator Obama."

Sen. Clinton’s total $11.425 million in loans to her campaign have now exceeded the $10 million she earned for her book — Clinton had made a point of saying her January $5 million was her money.  So is she not now loaning herself money her husband has earned?

"I dispute the notion that there is a difference between her share of her joint assets and her own money," said Wolfson.. "There is no distrinction between her share of their joint assets and her money. Her money is their share of her joint assets."

Wolfson pointed out that "legally she is entitled to use up to 50% of their joint assets if she chooses….We are scrupulously following the rules."

He added, "I don’t rule out that she will loan the campaign additional resources."

Asked about the fact that pundits have declared the Democratic nominating race to be over — and how that might influence superdelegates — the Clinton campaign pooh-poohed and pish-poshed.

"Thankfully for us the punditocracy does not control the nominating process, voters do," said Wolfson.

Wolfson said that "obviously superdelegates watch TV, they read the newspaper…but in the end I think they are more influenced by electoral outcomes…and arguments about who would be the stronger nominee in November."

Clinton will be stopping by West Virginia for an event this afternoon — the state holds its primary on Tuesday — after which she will be meeting with uncommitted superdelegates later in the afternoon on the Hill. "The goal is to make the case to the superdelegates that Sen. Clinton would be the best nominee," Wolfson said.

The Clinton campaign, which has recently taken a more aggressive position about seating the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida, conceded that even if those two delegations are seated in full — which is quite unlikely to happen — Clinton will still lag behind Sen. Obama in total delegates.

"If Michigan and Florida are seated fully we estimate we would pick up 58 delegates," said deputy communications dircetor Phil Singer, "putting us within a margin of less than 100 total delegates separating Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton."

But still behind.

-jpt

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