Clinton Campaign Change: Solis Out, Williams In

The Clinton campaign made a move today towards bringing the campaign back on track, by replacing “campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle with longtime aide Maggie Williams.”

Campaign aides said Solis Doyle made the decision to leave on her own and was not urged to do so by the former first lady or any other senior member of the team. But it comes as Clinton struggles to catch Obama in fundraising and momentum and faces the prospect of losing every voting contest yet to come in February. On Sunday, Obama also won the caucus count in Maine.

Solis Doyle announced the shift in an e-mail to the staff on Sunday.

“I have been proud to manage this campaign and prouder still to call Hillary my friend for more than 16 years,” Solis Doyle wrote. “Maggie is a remarkable person and I am confident that she will do a fabulous job.”

Solis Doyle said she will serve as a senior adviser to Clinton and the campaign, and travel with Clinton from time to time.

‘Lucky to have Maggie on board’

Williams, who served as Hillary Clinton’s White House chief of staff during Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s, joined the campaign after the New York senator narrowly won the New Hampshire primary Jan. 8. She will begin assuming the duties of campaign manager this week.

The WaPo adds that the “removal of Doyle, 42, was portrayed as an amicable one initiated by the campaign manager herself.”

But it gave credence to what some supporters have said for many weeks — that the campaign had spent too much money yielding too little results and that fresh management and advice are needed for what could be a long battle against Obama. Doyle did not tell Clinton how rapidly the campaign was burning through money, according to one campaign official, who said Clinton learned about her financial constraints only after the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 8.

Doyle told friends that she long ago had assumed that the Super Tuesday primaries would decide the nomination and that she would then seek a different role. By some accounts, the campaign’s January cash crunch undermined her role as manager, and there were tensions with former president Bill Clinton and some of his loyalists.

One senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about the campaign’s inner workings, said, “The dissatisfaction — to the extent there has been — has not been about money.” Asked what the source of dissatisfaction was, this adviser replied, “There is a sense that this is a fatiguing campaign and some new energy primarily was useful.”

I can only reflect that shake-ups can be common in campaigns (in ’04 both Howard Dean and John Kerry made top level staff changes). Although Obama has taken the victories in the latest primaries and caucuses including Maine, today, Clinton still holds the narrow edge with delegates, including the Super Delegates, and is favored for Ohio and Texas on March 4. Clinton supporters hope the shake-up will work it’s magic for Hillary.

There’s more on the shake-up at Taylor Marsh. Word has it that John Edwards met with Hillary Clinton, under the radar, on Thursday to discuss a possible endorsement and he will meet with Obama on Monday. Todd Beeton has more on that at MYDD.

Read: HALPERIN’S TAKE: 10 Things Clinton Can Do to Survive February.

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6 Responses to Clinton Campaign Change: Solis Out, Williams In

  1. alrudder says:

    I think Mark Penn has been setting the strategy thus far, plus her communications team. I don’t think this matters that much, unless Maggie Williams really asserts some new control. She does have a communications background.

    It donned on me that Hillary is winning states that have a large Democratic power base and unions. Thus she can tap into 3 decades of relationships. Obama is winning in places where there in not much party structure, so his grassroots entreprenuers can fill the void. If Obama can win over Latinos in Texas, he might have a shot since there are few unions and Democratic leaders in Texas. Ohio will be tough for him.

  2. Bob says:

    3000 showed up for caucus in ME today and people call that a legit election ?

    As for Ms Dolye, she has not managed a campaign of this manigtude before. I don’t understand why Hillary could have trusted her.

  3. alrudder says:

    Bob, there are 3,000 state delegates. About 47,000 Maine Democratic voters showed up to caucus, another record shattered.

    After next Tuesday, it’s all about Texas and Ohio for two weeks (no offense to RI and VT)

  4. Ricardo says:

    Typical Clinton, used the Latino lady Doyle after she helped her with the Latino vote in California. Now she does not need her so she is sacrificed and that obnoxious Penn character is kept.

    If campaign strategy is wrong who do you remove? The campaign strategist Penn, but no they use Doyle as an escape goat! Remember that Latinos.

    I am changing my vote. There is no gratitude!!!

  5. Ricardo

    As I noted above, changing campaign managers is common when a campaign is floundering – both Dean and Kerry did it in ’04. Patti Solis Doyle is actively participating in the campaign still as a consultant.

  6. Ricardo says:

    The campaign is floundering? I read the strategy is that we win in the big states, New York, New Jersey, California etc. If that is floundering then it is the wrong strategy and clearly reinforces my previous comment that Penn should be the one to be dispensed with and not Doyle.