Via the Daily Caller, MSNBC’s Morning Joe provides a preview of Kendrick Meek’s next four days. Time’s Mark Halperin grills Meek about whether he ever negotiated an exit from the Senate race in Florida as Bill Clinton claimed or not. Answer: kinda-sorta. Meek will only say that he and Clinton discussed the rumor, but that’s probably bad enough:
“We talked about the rumor that I was going to drop out of the race, and as you know, anyone that knows President Clinton, he loves to talk about all options and what could happen, what will happen and I told him, you know, I’m not going to do it, and that’s just the bottom line.”
Note well what Meek said yesterday in response to the Crist bombshell:
“The article is not true. Kendrick Meek was never dropping out of this race, is never dropping out of this race, and will never drop out of this race. Kendrick Meek will always stand up for the middle class and will not leave Floridians a choice between two lifelong conservative Republicans who only stand with the special interests. Kendrick is the Democratic nominee so if anyone should drop out, it’s Charlie Crist.”
This is what we now call Clintonian parsing. It seems that the rumors of Clinton discussing the withdrawal option with Meek are true. Meek’s “not true” related only to his willingness to go along with the plan, at least now that the plan has been exposed. What is true is that he and Clinton had a discussion about it, an odd conversation for a former President to have with a major nominee of his own party, and an odd conversation for that nominee to countenance.
What was the actual nature of that conversation? We have two opposing versions of it, and even if the truth is somewhere in between, Meek’s credibility is seriously damaged. That may not be good news for Marco Rubio, either; if Democrats decide that Meek isn’t in it to win it, his current status notwithstanding, they may bolt for Crist and convince a few centrist Republican voters that he could actually win this race. Rubio appears to have enough of a lead to withstand that, and (as Rubio pointed out yesterday) a third of the vote has probably already been cast, but this race could be a little closer than anyone thought.