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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pressure builds on Clinton to drop out

The Hill
One of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) congressional backers on Wednesday added to the mounting pressure on the former first lady to consider dropping her bid to become president.

Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) told The Hill that Clinton should reassess her prospects after losing to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) by 14 points in North Carolina and edging her rival in Indiana in Tuesday’s primaries.

“I urge her to take the day off and think very seriously about doing what’s best for the country and best for the party,” said Kildee.

“I got straight A’s in math,” added Kildee, implying that Obama’s delegate lead would be impossible to overcome in the few primaries left on the Democratic calendar.

Other backers of the first lady also voiced concerns.

One Democratic lobbyist and Clinton supporter said the writing is on the wall for the New York senator.

“I don’t think she has any options,” the lobbyist said. “I really think it’s over, and it’s only a matter of how she ends it.”

The lobbyist added, however, that Clinton does not need to rush her decision as the “landscape” will become clearer in the coming days with a “fairly steady trickle” of superdelegates moving to the Obama column.

However, most Clinton supporters in Congress remained unified behind the candidate. Pro-Clinton Democrats frequently invoked sports metaphors to argue that Clinton could make a fourth-quarter comeback — comparing her to Eli Manning, the New York Giants once-maligned quarterback who led his team to an improbable victory in the Super Bowl.

Congressional supporters of Obama, meanwhile, have begun to rally behind a demand that it is time for Clinton to get out of the race.

“It’s obvious that the nomination process is over,” said Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who has endorsed Obama. “I hope that she and her campaign will move forward and wrap this up.”

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), another Obama backer, said Clinton should consider dropping out.

“I hope she is considering it,” said Shea-Porter. “I think it’s time for us to stand together and start attacking the position that the Republican nominee has taken.”

Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to then-President Bill Clinton, said he believes Sen. Clinton will continue her bid for the White House and said calls from lawmakers to get her to drop out would be counterproductive.

Davis, a regular contributor to The Hill's Pundits Blog who does not have a formal role with the Clinton campaign, said, “In my opinion, any call for her to drop out will lead her to be more determined to stay in.

“You will not find one Republican, including Karl Rove, who would rather face Hillary Clinton [in the general election],” Davis added.

Rep. Brad Miller, a neutral Democrat from North Carolina, stopped short of advising Clinton to drop out. But the lawmaker said he is more convinced Obama will become the nominee in the wake of Tuesday’s primaries.

“I’ve expected that more strongly today than yesterday,” said Miller in a Wednesday interview.

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