Oh, Hillary's brother, where art thou?

Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham meets with McCain advisor Carly Fiorina in Pennsylvania. So much for party unity?

Published August 20, 2008 2:54PM (EDT)

The scene? A house in Dunmore, Pa., just outside Scranton. The topic? Why John McCain, not Barack Obama, should be the next president. The attendees? Oh, no one special, just Hillary Clinton's brother and a few of her campaign's former northeastern Pennsylvania operatives, along with a top McCain advisor.

The Scranton Times-Tribune's Borys Krawczeniuk reported Wednesday that Tony Rodham, Clinton's younger brother, and some other Clinton backers from the Scranton area met Monday with Carly Fiorina, the head of the Republican National Committee's Victory 2008 operation to support McCain, and one of McCain's top advisors and surrogates on economic policy. She's also one of McCain's highest-profile female supporters, and the meeting was part of the GOP effort to get disgruntled Clinton voters to come over to their side.

"I don't know. I'm not sure. I'm trying to get as much information as I can on both of them," Kathleen Granahan Kane, Clinton's former Scranton campaign organizer, told the Times-Tribune when asked if she'd vote for McCain. "I would have loved to see her as president. We still have a week to go. You never know what's going to happen at the convention."

Scranton is Clinton's father's hometown, as she ceaselessly reminded Pennsylvania voters before the Democratic primary there. It's also in a region where Obama would be struggling against McCain even if the local Democrats don't desert him. It's an older, blue-collar, heavily Catholic part of an older, blue-collar, heavily Catholic state. But having Clinton's brother meeting with the McCain brass a week before the Democratic convention isn't exactly on message (unless you're a PUMA). Clinton aides and allies didn't get back to me about the meeting, or to the Times-Tribune; maybe they were busy looking up the rules for how to disown siblings.

Of course, if Maureen Dowd's fantasy in today's New York Times is right, the whole thing is part of a sinister plot hatched over vodka shots by Clinton and McCain. But still, something tells me Tony Rodham won't be joining the Clinton family in their suite at the Pepsi Center next week.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton John Mccain R-ariz.