Wolfson calls planned Obama declaration a "slap in the face"

Clinton's communications director preemptively derides a possible declaration of victory by Obama that may no longer even be in the cards.


Alex Koppelman
May 19, 2008 8:25PM (UTC)

As I noted earlier, Barack Obama's campaign is reportedly reconsidering plans to make a victory declaration of sorts on Tuesday night. (It had planned to mark a milestone Obama is expected to achieve that night. After primaries in Kentucky and Oregon, the campaign believes, he'll have captured a majority of pledged delegates.) But, according to the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, Obama's remarks will now "tiptoe right up to the line, without explicitly asserting the race is over ... [It's] a revealing measure of the sensitivity surrounding overtures that appear to disrespect [Hillary] Clinton and her supporters."

But Howard Wolfson, Clinton's communications director, is still pushing hard against the move. In a memo he just sent to reporters, he notes the earlier reports about the Obama camp's decision to make a declaration -- and not Brown's new article -- and calls it "a slap in the face to the millions of voters in the remaining primary states and to Senator Clinton’s 17 million supporters."

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Here's the full memo, titled "Mission Accomplished? Not So Fast," from Wolfson:

Senator Obama’s plan to declare himself the Democratic nominee tomorrow night in Iowa (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10184.html) is a slap in the face to the millions of voters in the remaining primary states and to Senator Clinton’s 17 million supporters.

There is no scenario under the rules of the Democratic National Committee by which Senator Obama will be able to claim the nomination tomorrow night. He will not have 2210 delegates, the number needed with Florida and Michigan included in the process, nor will he have 2025 delegates, the number needed to secure the nomination without Florida and Michigan.

Premature victory laps and false declarations of victory are unwarranted. Declaring mission accomplished does not make it so.

While Senator Obama inaccurately declares himself the nominee, Senator Clinton will continue to work hard, campaigning for every vote in the upcoming states and making the case that she will be the best nominee to take on John McCain and be our next President.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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