Not enthusiasm for free markets, mind you, but her likely insistence on a free-market value for her enthusiasm. Hillary Clinton will concede the nomination to Barack Obama tomorrow, but the question of how much energy she puts into his campaign may depend on how much cash Obama puts into her bank accounts. And even if she gets her millions, she may be angling for another run in four years:
In politics, money talks. And money is likely to be an important factor in discussions between Barack Obama’s advisers and the debt-saddled Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign.
Clinton will likely seek help from Obama in retiring her massive campaign debt, which has swollen to more than $30 million, including $11 million she lent the effort, advisers said Thursday.
The former first lady, who plans to bow out of the race and endorse Obama on Saturday, told donors she will raise money for Obama’s campaign, both to help the Democratic Party’s cash position and to expand the Illinois senator’s prodigious fundraising base. Her advisers estimate the former first lady could bring in $50 million to $100 million for the general election campaign — and much more if she were named Obama’s running mate.
When the last figures were announced, Barack Obama had $40 million in the bank, as compared to McCain’s $21 million. If Obama attempts to retire all of Hillary’s debt, he will find himself shorthanded at a time when his own campaign fundraising has tailed off. Since his peak in February of $50 million, he took $40 million and $32 million in each successive month. Unless he reversed that trend in May, he can hardly afford to give away three-quarters of his cash on hand.
Undoubtedly, this was one of the subjects discussed in their one-on-one meeting last night at Hillary Clinton’s DC house:
One way to retire the debt would be to combine the campaigns by adding Hillary to the ticket. Unfortunately for Hillary, there is no way Obama will want to have her and Bill on his back for the next few months, let alone the next few years. Jazz Shaw gives this a humorous slap:
More and more reports are accumulating which indicate that Hillary may have known exactly what pound of flesh she expects in return for her gracious party loyalty and sincere efforts to bring her army of voters into the Obama camp. It would seem that she wants Obama to name her as the vice president and to pay off all the bills she ran up in her own run.
I wonder if perhaps she would like Obama Girl to stop by every week to give her a pedicure as well?
She will have to horsetrade for the debt relief some other way. Obama has a lot of healing to do with Hillary’s supporters, and if he leaves her twisting in the wind, they’re unlikely to forgive his “sexist” campaigning style any time soon. And they may not be inclined to forgive anyway, as they may see a Hillary run in 2012 after a single McCain term the best of all possible worlds. As Andrew Malcolm notes at the LA Times blog Top of the Ticket, that appears to be one interpretation of her e-mail valediction:
She’s going to run again. Put that in the bank.
One, political operations don’t make this kind of investment and rapid response without another motive; manners by themselves are too expensive and time-consuming. And, two, re-read the seventh paragraph: “I know as I continue my lifelong work for a stronger America and a better world, I will turn to you for the support,” etc. You’re in her data bank right now for future reference and use. Count on it.
In 2004, many people wondered if the Clintons didn’t secretly hold back support for John Kerry in order to position Hillary for this 2008 run. They may try the same strategy again and run on the “I told you so” theme in 2012.