June 5th, 2008


Clinton to Suspend Campaign

It's been a volatile and unpredictable primary season, which makes me think anything can happen between today and Saturday, but as it stands now:

Sen. Hillary Clinton thanked supporters in an e-mail Thursday and pledged to help Sen. Barack Obama capture the White House after eight years of Republican control.

Clinton plans to thank supporters in person at a Washington D.C. event Saturday, her campaign said, but she got a head start in an e-mail the campaign sent early Thursday.

"I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise," the message said.

Clinton plans to suspend her campaign within days, her campaign said. By suspending instead of dropping out altogether, Clinton would technically remain a candidate, entitled to keep statewide pledged delegates and district-level delegates.

Suspending instead of dropping out is not that unusual, actually. Mitt Romney did the same thing back in February. It is essentially the same as dropping out, but you get to hold onto your delegates in the hope of using them for leverage somewhere down the road. Romney decided to throw his delegates to McCain when he endorsed him a week after suspending his campaign.

Clinton might hold off on doing the same for Obama until the convention, for maximum dramatic effect and to keep the spotlight on the Democratic Party. Or she might simply be jockeying to remain relevant in the general election campaign ("If I campaign for you, here's what I want..."). I'm not sure why she decided to wait until Saturday, rather than making this her speech Tuesday night, but it's going to be very interesting to see what she does with the respected elder statesperson status she's got now.

Update: The New York Times is claiming Clinton will do more than suspend, she will actually concede and formally endorse Obama on Saturday.