After Obama historic win, Hillary Clinton now eyes number two spot?

June 4th, 2008 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 4 (IANS) As a vanquished Hillary Clinton did not concede even after Barack Obama sealed the Democratic presidential nomination in a history making battle, US media suggested it was a tactic to pressure the victor into selecting her as his running mate. The former first lady, after telling lawmakers from her home state of New York that she was open to joining Obama on the Democratic ticket, did not say she was quitting the race and instead asked her supporters Tuesday to advise her what should be her next step.

Several lawmakers who spoke to her on a conference call said Clinton had made it clear “she was willing to become Obama’s vice presidential nominee if it would help Democrats win the White House”.

“Now that she says she’s open to considering it, a lot of her supporters want it, that puts Barack Obama in a bit of a box,” said George Stephanopoulos on ABC World News.

“He either has to pick her, he certainly has to seriously consider her. And if he doesn’t want her, he has got to do it in a way that doesn’t diss her or her supporters,” he said.

However, the media is also beginning to examine some of the problems with what was once touted as an Obama-Clinton “dream ticket”.

“Certainly there will be some pluses and minuses. A plus is obvious. She can help him bring women to support him, she can help him with blue-collar workers,” said Bob Schieffer on the CBS Evening News, suggesting that her husband, former president Bill Clinton, was mainly pushing the idea.

“But there are some minuses. And the main minus is Bill Clinton himself. Does Obama want to bring on the questions that will be asked about his personal life, how he made all the money he’s made in recent years?” Schieffer said.

With the effective conclusion of the Democratic primary, the US media Wednesday also turned its attention to some of the challenges Obama is likely to face in his coming battle in November with Republican nominee John McCain.

The Washington Post said the primary “revealed a racial schism within the Democratic Party, and potential resistance to a black candidate in some parts of the country that will play out in the general-election campaign”.

The Los Angeles Times examined Obama’s need to woo “the white working class, Latinos, and independent and moderate Democratic women frustrated that their dream of historic achievement was derailed by the dreams of others,” and asked if Obama can “sell his vision of hope and change to the political middle?”

Despite its historical importance, Jeff Greenfield of the CBS Evening News did not think much of Obama’s win in political terms.

“This is hardly a triumphant march. He’s lost most of the primaries starting March 4. In fact, no nominee of either major party since the dawn of the primaries will have lost as many big states as Obama has,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal said some “worrying signs” for Obama came out of in Tuesday’s final pair of primaries because Obama “showed weaknesses in South Dakota in particular that rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign has warned could haunt him in November”.

Early exit polls show “voters Tuesday appeared to have strong concerns about his two decades of membership in Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago”, it noted.

Barack Obama is now faced with the task of rebuilding a unified party sundered by the lengthy and contentious primary, said the San Francisco Chronicle, noting he wasted no time in beginning that process Tuesday.

Obama’s “camp immediately began the work of reaching out to” Clinton - “and he reportedly called Clinton in an effort to bring her backers into the fold”.

The New York Post noted that during his victory speech, Obama called Clinton’s campaign “barrier breaking,” and added: “Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honour to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Obama is also looking for something more tangible from Clinton’s backers, said the New York Times.

His campaign “is gearing up to recruit many of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top fund-raisers, a move that could provide him with a huge infusion of cash if the two camps can get past the rancour of the primary season”.

Several of Obama’s finance officials “say that if Clinton drops out of the race, they will invite her top fund-raisers to join his national finance committee at a meeting in Chicago June 19″.

Analysing why Clinton lost her bid for the Democratic nomination after starting the campaign as the overwhelming favourite, the Wall Street Journal blamed Clinton herself, saying, “The bottom line is this: She called the biggest plays, and she got them wrong.”

The Washington Post said Obama triumphed by running an “insurgent” strategy that focused on states, venues and issues that Democrats often ignore.

The Los Angeles Times called Obama’s victory was “a triumph of charisma and soaring oratory - two of the oldest commodities in politics - fused with a thoroughly modern campaign that harnessed the Internet like never before”.

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