Sen. Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee if John Edwards had been caught in his lie about an extramarital affair and forced out of the race last year, insists a top Clinton campaign aide, making a charge that could exacerbate previously existing tensions between the camps of Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.
"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told ABCNews.com.In its specifics, this claim is preposterous. Recall that Clinton lost Iowa by almost ten points. Recall that the Clinton campaign's biggest weakness was an utter ignorance of caucuses. Recall that after Edwards dropped out, Clinton lost eleven straight primaries. But in broader terms, the worst thing about the Clinton campaign is/was their complete inability to come to terms with the fact that they were supposed to lose. Not because Barack Obama is more of a liberal, not because he'd make a better president, not because Clinton supported the war, not because Bill Clinton is amoral, but because they ran a losing campaign.
People rarely fail because of mysticism. There are almost always specific things that are under their control, which they fail to do. For instance--not exercising self-awareness. For much of the primary Clinton's argument was based on dubious qualifiers. Here was excuse-mongering as art: If you count only the primary states we're winning. If you count Florida and Michigan we're winning. If you count the states with the most electoral votes, we're winning. Now it's, If the John Edwards story had broke we would have won.
Woflson claims that Edwards and Clinton voters were the same. Really? What happened in Wisconsin? What happened in Indiana? (you know what I mean) What happened in Virginia? This is, ultimately, why I'm glad Clinton lost. Accountability does not exist with these guys, and in that, they really are Bush-lite. They had millions of dollars, front-runner status and, allegedly, the greatest politician of our era stomping for them--and they got their asses handed to them. But they can't come to terms with it.
In what universe should you be able to run a disorganized, mismanaged campaign, to not understand proportional representation, to disregard whole states, to not have a Plan B, and still win? This is like a quarterback throwing six interceptions and then complaining about the fans. Give me a break.
UPDATE: Why speculate when we have actual data:
This dude works in PR? Really? This is what you from your flack? Look, in this world of cynicism, I know we think public relations basically consists of only lying, but one should at least be able to lie intelligently. I have no idea why dude said this. It doesn't help Hillary. As for getting another gig, I wouldn't hire this cat to clean my drapes. He'd halfway do the job, and then blame the wind.
In the networks' Iowa entrance poll, 43 percent of those who went to a caucus to support Edwards said Obama was their second choice, far fewer, 24 percent said they would support Clinton if their top choice did not garner enough votes at that location. The remainder of Edwards' backers said they would be uncommitted under such a scenario, offered no second choice or said they preferred someone else.
Nor was Clinton the obvious second choice among Edwards supporters in Post-ABC pre-election Iowa caucus polls in July, November or December. In July, for their alternate pick, Iowans split 32 percent for Obama to 30 percent for Clinton. In November, Obama led 43 to 26 percent as backup pick, and he had a slight 37 to 30 percent edge in December.