There’s been rampant speculation in the media and blogosphere today that Hillary Clinton is preparing to concede, starting with the buzz about her plans to spend election night in New York tomorrow night down to Marc Ambinder’s musing on “Clinton Campaign staffers and former campaign staffers are being urged by the Clinton campaign’s finance department to turn in their outstanding expense receipts by the end of the week.”
Hold on just a minute, says the Clinton campaign. Hillary is not conceding:
Clinton spokesperson Mo Elleithee came to the back of the press plane as Clinton flew from Rapid City to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
He was asked about Clinton’s definition of when a nominee would be determined -– because she has refused to accept the new 2,118 delegates number that the Democratic Party says is needed to clinch the nomination.
“I think its pretty clear that she is not conceding.” Elleithee said, “I think its pretty clear that she is staying in this race. She is going, in the coming days, to be aggressively courting uncommitted superdelegates aggressively courting unpledged delegates, making the case to them that she is a candidate best ready to take on John McCain.”
When asked directly when Clinton will step aside, Elietthee told reporters, “as she has said dozens and dozens of times she is in this race until we have a nominee…Until there is a nominee she is going to try to win support.”
He continued “until there is a nominee we are going to still work to become that nominee. When asked when they would determine a nominee would be selected –- because the Clinton campaign has refused to accept fully the 2,118 number –- Elleithee said, “we’re exploring — she has said before she wants to have this to be resolved before the convention — we are reviewing our options.”
Eliethee continued, “We do not expect that a nominee will be clear tomorrow night … she is mostly going to be working the phones and meeting with these delegates.”
So just why is Hillary Clinton was spending tomorrow night in New York at a campaign event billed as a “victory party”?
A Clinton’s spokesperson said, “it’s a good way to close out this phase of the campaign is come to New York bring all of her supporters together, have a big celebratory election night party as we move into the next phase of the campaign which is obviously the courting of these delegates.”
Hillary was in Rapid City, SD earlier today “urging the people of South Dakota to come out and vote for her tomorrow.”
Clinton expressed her pleasure with her victory yesterday saying “we had a great victory in Puerto Rico yesterday, another lopsided win I am now over 300,000 votes ahead in the popular vote and am slightly behind in delegates but were going to make our case to all of the delegates as to who would be the best president.”
Clinton made her argument, again with a focus to the superdelegates that may be watching, saying she should be the nominee, “number one because that is the most important question and number two who would be the stronger candidate against John McCain and I believe on both of those question I am the person who should get the support to get the nomination for our party. Tomorrow is very important we started out way behind in South Dakota my opponent has a tremendous base of support here but we put together an amazing grass roots volunteer based campaign.”
Clinton spoke softly to a supporter – who told Clinton that she might vote for Obama if she did not win. Clinton said “great” and then said, “we need a Democrat … lets take it one step at a time.”
Catch all the discussion on the concession speculation here. Politico notes that “Clinton aides, however, cautioned Monday that none outside Clinton’s tight inner circle — her husband, daughter, and two or three aides — are sure what she’s going to do.” Stay tuned…