The Clintons have not exactly climbed aboard the Barack Obama bandwagon. In Miami, Bill Clinton had an opportunity to endorse Obama and pointedly took a pass, while showering Obama’s position on global warming with faint praise. More than two weeks after Hillary’s endorsement of the presumptive Democratic nominee, the Clintons are still hedging their bets (via TMV):
The former first lady endorsed Obama, urged her supporters to rally behind him and is scheduled to campaign with him later this week.
But her husband has not publicly endorsed the presumptive Democratic nominee to succeed President George W. Bush. Asked by journalists when he might do so, Clinton smiled and shook hands with spectators without acknowledging he heard the question.
The faint praise came in regard to Obama’s cap-and-trade preferences. Clinton still could not offer any significant support for Obama beyond “at least it’s better than the Republican policy,” which indicates the level of enthusiasm Bill has for Obama. He pointed out that Obama’s plan would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 80%, while John McCain’s would reduce them by 70%, and unsubtly implied that the difference was almost inconsequential.
Bill once stated that he would not campaign again in his lifetime, and despite his Miami appearance, it looks like he intends to keep that promise. What gives? After two weeks, Hillary has not hit the hustings for Obama, and Billwon’t even match his wife’s public endorsement. It appears that a great deal of animosity remains between the Clinton and Obama campaigns.
Perhaps that relates to the great deal of debt that remains in the Hillary campaign. She owes more than $22 million, about half of that from her own pocket. In order to get Hillary’s endorsement, one has to assume that Obama promised assistance in retiring that debt. However, with Obama opting out of public financing, he can’t afford to do fundraising for Hillary, and he can’t afford to assume the debt with his own campaign. That means Hillary has to do her own fundraising, well after she has no claim for the nomination.
Of course, this means she can’t do any fundraising for Obama, either. It also means she’ll draw money away that may have gone to Obama, from supporters who may still resent Obama’s campaigning in the primaries. The Clintons are not alone in nursing grudges, and her continued stumping for her own cause doesn’t help bring healing to the party — as Bill himself attested yesterday.