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Friday, August 15, 2008

Clinton's Name Likely To Be Placed In Nomination; Agreement Near With Obama Campaign

Reports of strife between negotiators for Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are exaggerated and the two sides are nearing an agreement on how Clinton's delegates will participate in the formal nominating process at the Democratic National Convention, according to advisers to both Democrats.

Although Clinton had resisted pressure from donors, allies and supporters to accept demands to allow her name placed in nomination, she and aides to Obama seemed to realize independently that doing so would be the best way to incorporate and welcome Clinton's supporters into Obama's general election campaign, both symbolically and practically.

According to several people who have spoken with her, Clinton originally believed that if her name were included in the roll call on Wednesday, August 27, she would inevitably wind up with fewer delegates than the 1896.5 she earned from the primaries. That would look bad and could demoralize her supporters.

In negotiations this summer with Obama's campaign, Clinton's team did not ask for Clinton's name to be submitted.

But within the past week, Clinton advisers informed the Obama team that many of Clinton's staunchest supporters felt strongly that something had to be done, and that Clinton had concluded that, in part for the sake of unity, their wishes ought to be respected. They heard back immediately: the Obama campaign had always been open to having her name placed in nomination alongside his.

If Clinton's name is formally offered up, she could be afforded the normal complement of nominating and seconding speeches, and the official role call of votes will include participation from her delegates. (In theory, if enough Obama delegates change their minds, then Clinton could win the nomination. In practice, there's no chance that will happen.)

On August 6, Clinton told donors at a private fundraiser that she thinks "that people want to feel like, O.K., it's a catharsis, we're here, we did it, and then everybody get behind Senator Obama. That is what most people believe is the best way to go."

That sentiment is shared by Obama advisers, even as reports of tension between her aides and Obama's campaign have proliferated in the press. To the contrary, multiple sources in both campaigns have described the negotiations as relatively free of acrimony. Obama's convention managers and his political are acutely aware of the fact that at least 45% percent of delegates were stalwart backers of Sen. Clinton during the primary.

At no point, according to advisers to both candidates, did Clinton use her leverage over her delegates as a bargaining chip, especially because the Obama campaign, aware of DNC rules, had anticipated the inclusion of Clinton in the formal roll call in some way.
Marc Ambinder

The exact choreography has not been worked out.

It is possible that Sen. Clinton, having had her name submitted, would use the occasion to release her delegates to Obama; depending on how the roll call is staged, Clinton's released delegates could put Obama over the top.

Clinton aides also confirmed, and Obama aides did not dispute, that it was Clinton who informed the Obama campaign that she did not to give the keynote address to the convention. It is not clear whether the Obama camp would have offered the honorific, but they did not, sources said, deliberately deny it to Clinton.

Obama's convention spokesperson, Jenny Backus, did not respond to e-mail seeking comment.

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