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Friday, May 16, 2008

Must Read: What Went Wrong?

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The exclusive story of Hillary's fall, as told by the high-level advisors, staffers, fundraisers, and on-the-ground organizers who lived it.

Endings are rarely as joyous as beginnings--and in the case of a long, wearing, and ultimately disappointing campaign, they can be downright brutal. But they also have the potential to be educational, for participants and gawkers alike. So it is that we asked (begged, really) a range of Hillarylanders for their up-close and personal lists of "What Went Wrong?" Not everyone wanted to play. Many stubbornly pointed out that their candidate is not yet dead. But, on the condition of total anonymity, a fairly broad enough cross-section of her staff responded--more than a dozen members all told, from high-level advisors to grunt-level assistants, from money men to on-the-ground organizers.

Many answers fell into a handful of broad themes we've been hearing for months now. (She shouldn't have run as an incumbent. She should have paid more attention to caucus states. She should have kept Bill chained in the basement at Whitehaven with a case of cheese curls and a stack of dirty movies.) Others had a distinct score-settling flavor. One respondent sent in a list of Top 25 screw ups, the first three being:

1. Patti
2. Solis
3. Doyle

While from another corner came another list, reading:

1. Mark Penn
2. Mark Penn
3. Mark Penn

But whether personal or clinical, new or familiar, the critiques are all the more striking for having come directly from those neck-deep in the action. So, here it is, an elegy for Hillary '08, written by some of those who have worked tirelessly to keep it alive.

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