Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico
Listen to audio of Bill Clinton's conference call below
With Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on the verge of defeat, Bill Clinton has been placing blame on enemies including a brazenly biased media that tried to suppress blue-collar votes, a deep-pocketed anti-war group that endorsed rival Barack Obama and weak-willed party leaders unable to stand up to either of these nefarious forces.
Pieced together from the former president’s public remarks at his wife’s campaign events and a private conversation last week with top donors to her campaign, the theory goes something like this: After Hillary recovered from a string of losses to rival Barack Obama with March 4 wins in Texas and Ohio, powerful forces conspired to pressure the superdelegates who will decide the nomination to back Obama by discouraging her supporters from voting and discounting the value of those votes she nonetheless received.
While the former president has offered parts of this theory publicly, he fleshed it out more explicitly during a conference call last week with maxed-out donors to his wife’s campaign, a transcript of which has been obtained by Politico.
Hear Bill Clinton's call
After rattling off a series of poll numbers showing Hillary Clinton faring better than Obama against McCain, Bill Clinton told donors: “We are in the strongest conceivable position electorally and not in a good fix with the superdelegates, because they have felt all the pressure from the Obama side, from the media, from the MoveOn crowd — who they think is an automatic ATM machine for everybody for life. So, they’re reluctant to take on all that.”
While the campaign has been blasting the media for weeks for prematurely calling the race for Obama, President Clinton has added a new entry to his enemy list: MoveOn.org, the anti-war group that endorsed Obama and that, through its political action committee, has raised millions for Democratic candidates, money the Clintons apparently believe has unfairly purchased superdelegate support for Obama.
Campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson offered another interpretation, telling Politico that “the president was referring to efforts online to pressure superdelegates in support of Sen. Obama,” pointing to a petition the group circulated in February asking superdelegates to “let the voters decide between Clinton and Obama, then support the people's choice.”