Hillary Clinton will concede tonight that Barack Obama has the delegates to win the nomination, the AP reports. She will not withdraw at this time or even suspend her campaign, but with no remaining primaries or caucuses, she will shut down her operations:
Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation’s first female president.
The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City. She will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over. ….
The advisers said Clinton has made a strategic decision to not formally end her campaign, giving her leverage to negotiate with Obama on various matters including a possible vice presidential nomination for her. She also wants to press him on issues he should focus on in the fall, such as health care.
If she wants to be VP, Obama may not have much choice. She can press him all the way to the ballot for the nomination and tie him up all summer in lobbying the superdelegates. He will be faced with the conundrum that LBJ described as between having someone outside the tent pissing in or inside the tent pissing out. At this point, he may have little choice but to accept the latter.
Does she really want that role, though? I think not. If she thinks he’s as weak as she’s warned, she will want to distance herself from a general-election debacle. A commitment for a Cabinet-level appointment and help retiring her campaign debt would probaby do it.
I’ll have more on this as details arise.
Update: The AP says yes, while Jim Geraghty’s inbox says no:
Statement from the Clinton Campaign:
The AP story is incorrect. Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening[.]
We’ll see. Technically, the AP doesn’t say she’ll concede, but that she will admit that Obama has the delegates for the nomination. There’s daylight between the two, but to be fair, you’d have to be a Clintonista to see it.
Update II: Chris Cillizza at The Fix says the speech tonight will “acknowledge where we are”:
A senior Clinton adviser told The Fix moments ago that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) will “recognize the reality of where we are” during her remarks tonight in New York City.
The adviser warned that the language of Clinton’s speech was not yet set and offered no comment about reports that the New York senator is planning to admit tonight that Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has the 2,118 delegates necessary to formally clinch the party’s nomination. Other high-ranking Clinton aides professed no knowledge that a decision had been made to acknowledge Obama as the nominee tonight.
The Clinton campaign, in fact, released a statement insisting that the Associated Press story that fueled this maelstrom was not correct; “Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening,” the statement asserted.
Language is important here. An acknowledgment of Obama securing the delegates he needs to formally become the party’s nominee is NOT the same thing as a concession by Clinton.
Does anyone recall parsing the meaning of the word “is”? Language is always important in deciphering the Clintons. Why should today be any different?