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Monday, June 02, 2008

Clinton message: She'll do what it takes in November


Obama insiders believe Clinton is sending signals she would be willing to join the ticket.

NEW YORK (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton is poised to deliver a message Tuesday "that she will do whatever it takes" to put a Democrat in the White House — a message that Barack Obama insiders say indicates she would accept an offer to be Obama's running mate if asked.

"In her speech tomorrow night, she will convey the message that first and foremost she is committed to Democrats winning in November and will do whatever she's asked to do," a close friend and adviser of the former first lady, who speaks with her regularly and is privy to her deliberations, told CNN Monday.

"She will do whatever it takes to bring the party together to win and whatever is asked of her to make sure the Republicans are defeated."

That message has been conveyed to the Obama campaign via informal channels, according to Obama insiders who said the message is a signal that she would be willing to serve as his vice president.

Both the Clinton and Obama campaigns told CNN that there have been no formal discussions between the campaigns.

Obama insiders are split over whether considering Clinton to be on the ticket is a good idea.

"Obama has a philosophical aversion to making promises and pre-empting the process that is in place so Clinton can accommodate her interests," one Obama insider said. "Sure, she's on the short list, but there's a whole process in place."

One Obama insider believes putting Clinton on the ticket would "ramp down the animosity" that exists between the supporters of the two candidates. But another insider said that "while there is mistrust between the two, it's less about trusting her, and more about whether she can deliver."

Clinton and Obama go into the final two primaries of the Democratic nomination fight Tuesday with Obama leading in delegate totals, although the results in South Dakota and Montana won't give him the 2,118 delegates he needs to secure the nomination.

Instead, the Illinois senator must depend on superdelegates — party insiders and elected officials — to put him over the top.

One such superdelegate — the highest-ranking African American in Congress, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn — will endorse Obama on Tuesday, multiple sources told CNN. A top Democratic operative said that Clyburn will offer conciliatory remarks towards Clinton in an effort to bring the two campaigns together.

In his endorsement speech, Clyburn is expected to talk about the historic nature of having a woman and an African American run for the Democratic nomination and how important it is that these two leaders and their supporters bring the party together. Clyburn has been instrumental in trying to bring the two camps together and has delayed until now publicly stating his choice in the Democratic race.

Democratic Party insiders are also discussing how to patch up Clinton's relationship with the black community and how to bring African American Clinton supporters into the Obama fold, several top Clinton supporters said.

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