February 23, 2008

Sometimes A Handshake Is Just A Handshake

How crazy has the primary campaign become? Hillary Clinton now feels the need to explain shaking hands with Barack Obama at their Thursday evening debate in Austin. Despite the analysis of some pundits, she has not yet surrendered to Obama and expects to win in Texas and Ohio:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton insisted Friday that she had not meant to signal surrender when she shook hands with Sen. Barack Obama during their Democratic presidential debate in Austin the night before. It was a measure of the dire circumstances her campaign now faces that she had to explain the gesture at all.

Clinton said she still expects to win the Ohio and Texas primaries, but her increasingly pessimistic advisers did nothing to rebut a remark by former president Bill Clinton that his wife must win both states to continue her candidacy. ...

And on CBS's "Early Show," Clinton was asked outright whether the final moment of Thursday's debate had been a valedictory. "No, of course not," she said. "It is the recognition that both of us are on the brink of historic change. You know, I'm very proud that we have the two of us in this contest seeking the Democratic nomination, hoping to become our next president."

According to legend, someone once challenged Sigmund Freud on the subconscious significance of his ever-present cigar. He replied, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," although others dispute whether he really thought that so. In this case, Hillary wants to avoid any hint that she has given up on the race, especially as she presses hard to win the next two states and end the 10-state losing streak that has propelled Obama into the lead.

Her campaign seems somewhat less than sanguine about her chances. While they think they can win in Texas and Ohio, the Washington Post reports from sources high in the campaign that she's unlikely to dent Obama's momentum. The entire campaign got stunned by the ferocity of the loss in Wisconsin, where polls had Hillary within the margin of error until the polls opened. She wound up losing by 17 points, a drubbing that no one saw coming -- and an indication that the party has just about written Hillary off.

What comes next? If she wins both states, she continues. If she loses either or both, the Post reports that the campaign will go to Bill Clinton to urge the pair to quit. The fact that the campaign has had to start strategizing a withdrawal is much more significant than a handshake.

Addendum: The report also includes the death of Dallas police Senior Cpl. Victor Lozada-Tirado, after a fatal accident while escorting Hillary's motorcade. Please pray for the family of Corporal Lozada-Tirado, who died while protecting people engaged in the wonderful political process we have in America. Without men and women like Corporal Lozada-Tirado, that process would be impossible to protect. He gave his life for his country, and we honor his memory.

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