Reading the Clinton tea leaves

Early signs indicate that Tuesday night may be the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Published June 2, 2008 2:26PM (EDT)

The rhetoric coming out of Hillary Clinton's campaign hasn't exactly cooled, even after -- actually, especially after -- Saturday's decision about the Florida and Michigan delegations. But there are some indications that despite the Clinton camp's posture, it may be preparing for the end.

One good sign is the location of Clinton's primary night appearance on Tuesday. It's not proof of anything, but these sites are mostly chosen for their symbolic value. (Barack Obama's campaign, for example, chose St. Paul, Minn., for its Tuesday night rally, and that's a choice that says it's getting ready for the general election, since Minnesota is a swing state and St. Paul is the location of the Republicans' convention this year.) If Clinton were going to appear in, say, Michigan, then that would be a clear sign that she has not yet begun to fight. But instead she'll be in New York, which she represents in the Senate. Again, that doesn't say anything for sure about what she intends to do, but it certainly would indicate that she's getting ready to end her campaign and return to serving New York.

The other important sign, reported by the Politico's Amie Parnes, is that some Clinton staffers have been essentially told they're out of a job. "Members of Hillary Clinton's advance staff received calls and emails [Sunday] evening from headquarters summoning them to New York City Tuesday night, and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending," Parnes reports. "The advance staffers -- most of them now in Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Montana -- are being given the options of going to New York for a final day Tuesday, or going home ... The move is a sign that the campaign is beginning to shed -- at least -- some of its staff."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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