Who's Hillary Clinton's supersecret special mystery endorser?

The Clinton campaign promises a "major endorsement" this afternoon, but is keeping the person's identity close to the vest.

Published January 29, 2008 5:55PM (EST)

In an e-mail to the press, Hillary Clinton's campaign is promising to deliver the announcement of a "major endorsement" in a conference call at 1 p.m. EST. They're not giving any hints as to who it is, though, and the coy hype they're giving the event (they list the participants as "Senator Hillary Clinton and Special Guest") has led us over here to speculate a bit. Salon's Rebecca Traister says -- Oh, the perils of intra-office instant messaging -- she thinks Clinton "better have Barry White on the conference call, singing, 'You're the first, the last, my everything!'" We did both agree, however, that in the vein of Chuck Norris' stumping for Mike Huckabee and Sylvester Stallone's recent endorsement of John McCain, we'd both be happy if the special guest were MacGyver's Richard Dean Anderson.

All kidding aside, I'll be on the conference call, and I'll update this post as soon as I hear the news.

Update: The campaign has actually moved the conference call to 1:30 p.m., so I'll have the news then. It has also disclosed that it'll be a "congressional endorsement," which is fine, but we do wonder how many members of Congress can make a functional car with a pair of scissors, a piece of plywood and a roll of duct tape.

Update II: It's Rep. Maxine Waters. Waters brings a couple of key things to the Clinton table -- first, she's a longtime representative from California, an important Super Tuesday state. Second, she's African-American, and that's obviously important for the Clinton campaign considering the heat it has taken for allegedly making race-baiting part of its campaign against Obama recently. The AP has a statement from Waters:

"At a time when the economy continues to worsen and so many of my constituents are losing their homes and their jobs, we need someone with the leadership and experience who can step in on day one to tackle the economic challenges our country is facing ... Hillary understands the daily challenges that people are facing and she will fight for them every day she is in the White House."

Update III: Just got off the conference call, which was interesting, if uneventful. I was expecting some reporters to bring up race and the recent Clinton/Obama battles, but that stayed mostly to the sidelines. The lone exception, sort of, was one reporter who asked Waters to explain what she thinks will happen in California's primary, and whether there's hope for Clinton in "the black and brown communities" there. "Of course I would be speculating," Waters said, "but I think that California is Hillary Clinton territory ... I think there will be a coalition of voters who will respond to Hillary Clinton; I think they will come from all of the different areas in California, all of the different groups in California."

Separately, a reporter asked Clinton about the effect of Sen. Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama yesterday. Clinton did a pretty good job of playing down the importance of Kennedy's move without seeming defensive or bitter, saying, "Well, we are all proud of those who endorse us ... At the end of the day, this comes down to a choice between individuals, each of us with our experiences, our qualifications, our plans for the future, how we believe on Day 1, in less than a year from now, we can start to undo the damage done by the Bush-Cheney years."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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