It might be natural to read the leak about Hillary’s short list for Secretary of State as evidence of her confidence that she’s got the presidency in the bag; as if she’s already moved beyond the election.
However, I (Michelle Jesse) read it as further evidence of a creeping panic inside her campaign.
With 11 days until election day, polls continue to tighten, with some — like the Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll — showing rapid and dramatic changes (Clinton’s lead shrinking 8 points in 4 days). Given recent poll momentum, it would indeed appear the air of inevitability she and her media have tried to fuel was premature.
As polls continue to remind her she can take nothing for granted in this election — something Hillary’s been brutally reminded of throughout this entire process, which was supposed to be a coronation but instead has been a slog — one can’t help but notice another trend. The astonishingly unpopular Democrat nominee is doing her best to hide behind more popular figures and ride their coattails to victory. We’ve seen the (inexplicably) still popular President Obama himself and First Lady Michelle increase their volume in support of Hillary — with Michelle even stealing the spotlight from Hillary at a rally yesterday and calling her “my girl.”
Meanwhile, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine suddenly canceled an appearance today in Florida, following an embarrassingly small showing for his rally there earlier this week. The campaign did not provide an explanation; however, many of us filled in the blanks to read it as an acknowledgement that Timmy was perhaps harming more than helping the campaign.While Team Clinton appears to be hiding its own VP pick, it now seems to be trying to associate itsself with a more popular vice president. As Politico reports: Joe Biden is at the top of the internal short list Hillary Clinton’s transition team is preparing for her pick to be secretary of state, a source familiar with the planning tells POLITICO.
This would be the first major Cabinet candidate to go public for a campaign that’s insisted its focus remains on winning the election, and perhaps the most central choice for a potential president who was a secretary of state herself.
Neither Clinton, nor her aides have yet told Biden. According to the source, they’re strategizing about how to make the approach to the vice president, who almost ran against her in the Democratic primaries but has since been campaigning for her at a breakneck pace all over the country in these final months.
“He’d be great, and they are spending a lot of time figuring out the best way to try to persuade him to do it if she wins,” said the source familiar with the transition planning.
The vice president, who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before joining the administration, is one of the most experienced and respected Democrats on the world stage. He’s also coming to what would be the close of a 44-year career in Washington, first with six terms in the Senate and then two terms as President Barack Obama’s closest adviser — and the keeper of the portfolio on some of the most difficult international issues, including Iraq and Ukraine.
Yes, it would certainly appear that Hillary Clinton is trying to ride the coattails of the Obama administration right into the White House. Anyone still have any remaining doubt that a vote for Hillary would be a vote for Obama’s third term?
[This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]