Clinton: "No decisions have been made"

Some of Hillary Clinton's die-hard supporters seize on newly released video footage, claiming she says in it that she will put herself up for nomination at the Democratic convention.

Published August 2, 2008 2:50PM (EDT)

On Friday, as noted in an earlier post, the New York Daily News reported that Hillary Clinton had decided she won't ask to be formally nominated as a candidate at the Democratic convention later this month. But Clinton's camp says that report is false. In a statement, Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said, "Hillary Clinton is 100 percent committed to helping Barack Obama become the next president of the United States and realizes there are passionate feelings that remain among many of her supporters. While no decisions have been made at this time, they will be made collaboratively with Senator Clinton and her staff, the DNC and Senator Obama's campaign and released at the appropriate time."

Under Democratic National Committee rules, for her name to be put in nomination at the convention, Clinton herself has to give written approval. She'd also have to submit a petition that contains the signatures of more than 300 delegates; that's something some of her die-hard supporters are trying to organize. The Daily News' report had indicated, however, that even if her supporters did succeed, Clinton would not allow herself to be nominated. Still, it's important to note that her campaign's denial of the story doesn't necessarily mean that the opposite will happen and that Clinton will put her name in -- for now, it really is just saying that no decision has been made.

Still, some of Clinton's Internet-based supporters are seizing on another piece of evidence, seeing in it a glimmer of hope for their cause: a declaration by Clinton that she will allow herself to be nominated. The new evidence is a video reportedly shot at a fundraiser for Clinton held in California on Thursday. (It can be viewed below.)

In the video, one person in attendance asks Clinton "to please consider having your name put in nomination." To that, Clinton responds, "[That] is a question that I think is a very obvious one to ask, I mean, what will happen at the convention with respect to my putting my name in nomination, a roll-call vote ... No decisions have been made, and so we are trying to work all this through with the DNC and with the Obama campaign."

But Clinton also said she feels it would be good for the cause of party unity if something -- she never actually specifies what -- could be arranged so that her supporters "feel that their voices are heard."

"I think that is a very big part of how we actually come out unified," Clinton said, "because ... I think that people want to feel like, 'OK, it's a catharsis, we're here, we did it, and then everybody get behind Sen. Obama.' That is what most people believe is the best way to go ... It's as old as Greek drama; there is a catharsis -- everybody comes, they want to yell and scream and have their opportunity, and I think that's all to the good."

Clinton's remarks have been a hot topic on Web sites run by people who identify with the PUMA ("Party Unity My Ass") movement and still support Clinton for the presidency. At one site, Alegre's Corner, the video was added to a post that was originally about the Daily News story; the title of the post has been changed to "Updated: Hillary WILL Put Her Name Into Nomination."

Put in context, however, that appears to be wishful thinking. Discussing the PUMAs' interpretation of the video, one source in the Clinton camp strongly emphasized to Salon spokeswoman Strand's statement that "no decisions have been made at this time."

Moreover, in the video Clinton herself throws cold water on the idea that PUMAs will be able to reach their goal of making her the Democratic Party's candidate. Asked what she would do if her name were put in nomination at the convention and she then beat Obama in the roll-call vote that followed, Clinton quickly replied, "That is not gonna happen. That is not gonna happen. What we want to have happen is for Senator Obama to be nominated by a unified convention of Democrats."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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