Jan. 14, 2008–During a conference call with reporters earlier today Senator Hillary Clinton announced that she will endorse Barack Obama for President.
“We were talking, my campaign staff and I, and someone brought up John Kerry endorsing Obama last week,” Mrs. Clinton began, “and one of my strategists pointed out how it was being perceived as a ‘kiss of death’.”
Then Senator Clinton spoke of how Kerry’s sorry reputation couldn’t hold a candle to her own and she said that a now former staffer, who was dropped by the campaign yesterday, suggested that Mrs. Clinton should use her own unpopularity to her advantage and endorse Senator Obama in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
When her campaign polled likely Democratic primary voters, Mrs. Clinton said, they found that her endorsement would cause Obama’s favorability rating to drop precipitously, with 40% of Democrats saying that they would be “less likely” to vote for Obama.
At the same time, Mrs. Clinton told reporters, her endorsement was viewed favorably by black voters, 70% of whom said that they would be “more likely” to vote for the New York senator if she stopped attacking Obama and endorsed him.
“All in all,” Clinton said, “our internal polls say this endorsement wins us the nomination. Too many Democrats simply won’t have anything to do with a candidate I endorse, but black voters like it and they’re saying things like ‘she always comes through for us.'”
When asked how ex-President Bill Clinton reacted to the surprise strategy, Mrs. Clinton said that he agreed that she turned voters off, so why not unload that revulsion onto Obama and be done with it and him. The former president is reported to have said that he had considered voting for Senator Obama but would never do so if his wife endorsed him.
“We’ve been doing this, running for office, for a long time,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Campaigns are strange things and have a life of their own. What we’re doing, endorsing Senator Obama, makes perfect sense, and it’s going to be a devastating blow to his campaign that it will never recover from.”
Asked by one reporter why the campaign staffer who suggested that she endorse Obama was fired she said that when he offered the radical idea he had “basically fired himself.”
“As a candidate I can’t afford to keep people around who have such a negative attitude about me.”