Hillary Clinton Quitting Campaign?
Matt Drudge has the bold headline — but no flashing siren — TALK OF HILLARY EXIT ENGULFS CAMPAIGN.
Facing a double-digit defeat in New Hampshire, a sudden collapse in national polls and an expected fund-raising drought, Senator Hillary Clinton is preparing for a tough decision: Does she get out of the race? And when?!
“She can’t take multiple double-digit losses in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada,” laments one top campaign insider to the DRUDGE REPORT. “If she gets too badly embarrassed, it will really harm her. She doesn’t want the Clinton brand to be damaged with back-to-back-to-back defeats.”
Meanwhile, Democrat hopeful John Edwards has confided to senior staff that he is staying in the race because Hillary “could soon be out.” “Her money is going to dry up,” Edwards confided, a top source said Monday morning.
Key players in Clinton’s inner circle are said to be split. James Carville is urging her to fight it out through at least February and Super Tuesday, where she has a shot at thwarting Barack Obama in a big state. But others close to the former first lady now see no possible road to victory, sources claim.
Even aside from the fact that this is on the Drudge report, this strikes me as wildly implausible. Unlike earlier reports that Fred Thompson would drop out after poor finishes in the early states, there’s just no reason for Clinton to quit. As noted in the previous post, she’s got more cash on hand than Obama and Edwards combined. And she’s got huge leads in several big states.
If, as looks increasingly likely, she loses badly tomorrow in New Hampshire, she’s going to feel as if the wind has been knocked out of her. She expected to win these two easily and then march on to a coronation. But the idea that she can’t afford to stay in the race through February 5th is just silly.
UPDATE: Dan Riehl engages in some interesting speculation: “One cannot be re-born until you die. What better way to do it than to plant the story of your demise, eventually pinning it on the underhanded dealings of a presumably noble competitor’s campaign?”
Lowering expectations has long been part of politics, in much the same as good football coaches traditionally “poor mouth” their own team while laying it on thick about how great their upcoming opponent is.
UPDATE: This counter, via myDD, provides some useful perspective:
(I’ve used a screencap for archival purposes; grab a live counter for either or both parties here.)