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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:

    2008 Nomination Delegate Counter Democrats

(I’ve used a screencap for archival purposes; grab a live counter for either or both parties here.)

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    This is ridiculous. The “Clinton brand” would be damaged whether she continues or not (if she loses, that is). In addition conviction that one will win is part of the territory of being a politician. I can’t imagine her withdrawing before Feb 5. I’m not sure I can imagine her withdrawing after Feb 5, whatever the results.

    This is her only opportunity for the presidency. Now or never.

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  2. yetanotherjohn says:

    As long as this is a three person race, there is no reason for her to pull out. As much as the Clinton’s play hardball politics, the ‘super delegates’ are likely to break for her, tipping the balance in a divided convention.

    If it becomes a two person race, then she very well may be in trouble. This may seem strange but the best result for Hillary is a win in NH, but the second best result is a third place finish that keep Edwards in the game. A second place finish that hurts Edwards would in turn hurt Hillary.

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  3. [...] skepticism — H/T to MemeOrandum: Riehl World View (Right); Blue Crab Boulevard (Right); Outside The Beltway [...]

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  4. [...] Others: (Not buying it):  Hot Air, Outside The Beltway, [...]

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  5. Blogs of War says:

    Is Hillary Clinton Quitting the Campaign?…

    Drudge is having a little fun at Hillary’s expense:
    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 preparin…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Tlaloc says:

    Kudos to Dan Reihl on being even more paranoid of political manuevering than I am.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. [...] Outside The Beltway: 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. [...]

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  8. Ol' BC says:

    It is somewhat amazing that people are starting to realize what a danger Hitlery is. Not that Hussein Osama is that much better, but if he gets the nomination it will bode better for the nation. For some reason the main stream media continues to pimp Hitlery.

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  9. Tlaloc says:

    It is somewhat amazing that people are starting to realize what a danger Hitlery is. Not that Hussein Osama is that much better, but if he gets the nomination it will bode better for the nation. For some reason the main stream media continues to pimp Hitlery.

    Maybe they remember the two terms under her husband. You know, when things were relatively peaceful (i.e. we only invaded one country at a time) and we had a national surplus.

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  10. Tlaloc says:

    I long for the days when the worst thing the president did was fodder for a penthouse letter and not a Kafka story.

    But, you know, your milage may vary.

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  11. Hillary dropping out???…

    When Hell freezes over AND when pigs fly….

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  12. nightjar says:

    Not that Hussein Osama is that much better

    Cheap shot from the cheap seats.

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  13. Paul says:

    Cheap shot from the cheap seats.

    Cheap shots hurt. Using Obama’s names derisively only makes the namecaller look bad, not Obama. Hopefully the Republican noise machine will stay away from it, for its own sake. C’mon, at least get creative, like The Obominable Showman. I like Obama from what I have seen so far, but I’m game for entertainment.

    Or if he runs against Huckabee, the general election could be billed as “The Dope from Hope” vs. “The Hope on Dope”

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  14. [...] Outside The Beltway: 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. [...]

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  15. [...] going anywhere Hillary Clinton – Drudge is full of [...]

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  16. Bobby says:

    Obviously there’s no way Hillary is out ANY TIME SOON.

    This brain-trust: “It is somewhat amazing that people are starting to realize what a danger Hitlery is. Not that Hussein Osama is that much better . . . For some reason the main stream media continues to pimp Hitlery.”

    Ol’ BC (brain confusion? boring crap? bimbo cheerleader??), what exactly is the danger of a Clinton presidency? Or an Obama one (aside from the fact that he is nearly as unqualified as G.W. Bush)? I hear your implicit argument in calling them names: that centrist Hillary Clinton is actually a Nazi (astute), and that centrist Obama is actually a Muslim terrorist (very perspicatious of you). But, if those turn out not to be true . . . hmmm, can’t really find the threat. Help me out?

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  17. Premature withdrawal syndrome?…

    Matt Drudge sometimes pushes sensationalized stories, and I can think of few stories more likely to cause a sensation among political junkies than this:TALK OF HILLARY EXIT ENGULFS CAMPAIGNS Mon Jan 07 2008 09:46:28 ET Facing a double-digit defeat in…..

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  18. Aakash says:

    Well, when you are viewed as the “front-runner,” and you are upset by another candidate in an early contest, you have to recover quickly… If not, you lose major momentum and support, and that makes it more likely that you will have to drop out.

    This is what almost happened to Bob Dole, in 1996, on the Republican side. [The GOP Establishment weighed in very heavily, following Iowa and New Hampshire, to push him into the nomination.]

    Howard Dean was sunk, in a similar way, after he stumbled in the early contests, during the last Democrat presidential nomination race.

    Hopefully, this will happen to Hillary as well.

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