During his recent Meet the Press appearance, Clinton spokesman Terry McAuliffe claimed the campaign has "16.6 million very passionate supporters." But at least a few among that group are more accurately described as nervous, prompting the Clinton campaign to reach out with reassuring phone calls over the weekend.
According to an account of one such conversation relayed to The Huffington Post by a Clinton cohort, campaign staff are now asking key supporters and superdelegates not to desert Clinton during the next two weeks of campaigning, when Sen. Barack Obama officially clinches the majority of pledged delegates. In exchange for this loyalty, the Clinton campaign is suggesting it will be mindful of the awkward position in which some of its backers now find themselves.
"People are saying, 'I don't want to be associated with the campaign staying on too long or tearing down Obama,'" the Clinton supporter told the Huffington Post. In response to these concerns, the supporter said, the Clinton camp's weekend phone calls included a pledge that "Sen. Clinton won't do anything in the next two weeks that's embarrassing, or makes things difficult [for you]."
Harsh criticism from some Democratic quarters in response to Sen. Clinton's May 7 USA Today interview -- in which she attempted to make hay out of the fact that "Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again" -- may have prompted last weekend's assurances to nervous backers. Since that mini-scandal, her campaign certainly appears to be avoiding any appearance of deriding Sen. Obama's candidacy, with Clinton herself rising to defend Obama against President Bush's veiled criticisms in Israel last week.