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Clinton Quietly Discourages Biden Run  08/28 06:22

   In ways both subtle and blunt, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is sending 
a message to Vice President Joe Biden about his potential presidential 
campaign: This won't be easy.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- In ways both subtle and blunt, Hillary Rodham Clinton's 
campaign is sending a message to Vice President Joe Biden about his potential 
presidential campaign: This won't be easy.

   As Biden ponders a challenge to Clinton for the Democratic nomination, she 
has rolled out a string of high-profile endorsements in the early-voting 
contests of Iowa and South Carolina and scheduled an onslaught of fundraisers 
across the country in the effort to throw cold water on a possible Biden bid.

   Donors who have publicly expressed support for a Biden run have been 
contacted by the Clinton team, according to donors and Democratic strategists 
who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss 
the private conversations. Even Clinton herself has made a few calls, they 
said, to express her disappointment.

   While Clinton and her team speak warmly of Biden in public, they have taken 
steps to show their dominance over the party's establishment and President 
Barack Obama's political infrastructure in hopes of quietly discouraging the 
vice president from entering the race.

   The effort comes as Clinton and the Democratic field of candidates prepare 
to address members of the Democratic National Committee on Friday during their 
summer meeting in Minneapolis. The night before her formal address, Clinton 
made her case in private briefings to attendees. Meanwhile, representatives 
from a super PAC backing Biden plan to woo delegates in his absence.

   "I have great deal of admiration and affection for him," Clinton said of 
Biden during a stop in Iowa on Wednesday. "I think he has to make what is a 
very difficult decision for himself and his family. He should have the space 
and the opportunity to decide what he wants to do."

   While Biden considered his options, Clinton's team released a series of 
memos Thursday night that detailed their organizing work in early-voting 
states. "For months, we were the only campaign on either side of the aisle with 
offices and staff reaching out to voters," wrote Clay Middleton, her state 
director in South Carolina. "This head start has provided an organizing 
advantage."

   Clinton's campaign has taken other steps in South Carolina, where Biden has 
deep ties, to showcase her clout. She recently picked up the endorsements of 
two former governors, Jim Hodges and Dick Riley, the latter who served as 
education secretary during Bill Clinton's administration. Her campaign's 
chairman, John Podesta, appeared at an event in the state last week.

   During a trip to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month, former Iowa Sen. 
Tom Harkin joined Clinton and endorsed her campaign. When she returned to Iowa 
this week, she was joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa 
governor who wrote in an op-ed in the Gazette of Cedar Rapids that he intended 
to caucus for her, "plain and simple."

   Clinton's fundraising apparatus has extensive overlap with Biden's, causing 
some awkwardness among their donors.

   "I plan on supporting Secretary Clinton. She is the announced candidate," 
said George Tsunis, a Long Island, New York, businessman and a top donor to 
Obama and Biden's 2012 re-election campaign. "If the vice president were to 
announce his candidacy and run, I would be supporting the vice president."

   Clinton's campaign, however, is not leaving an opening in fundraising, 
lining up about three-dozen events in September after the Labor Day holiday. 
The stops include Atlanta; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Cincinnati; Dallas; Little 
Rock, Arkansas; Milwaukee; New York; Port Elizabeth, Maine; and Washington, D.C.

   Some of the events will be hosted by leading donors to Obama and Biden's 
campaigns, including New Jersey public relations executive Michael Kempner, 
Dallas attorney Marc Stanley, Washington money management executive Frank White 
Jr., and Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who previously served as Obama's ambassador to 
Switzerland.

   In Chicago, Clinton is scheduled to attend fundraisers on Sept. 17 hosted by 
two longtime Obama supporters, attorney Joseph Power and businessman Michael 
Polsky.

   While her husband presides over the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting 
in New York in late September, Clinton will raise money at seven fundraisers 
planned in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Following her West Coast swing, she 
will tap into the network of country music stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at a 
Nashville fundraiser on Sept. 29.

   Those advocating for a Biden run say they'll be able to build a vibrant 
primary organization and have already solicited commitments from a number of 
Clinton backers who say they are ready to switch sides.

   "They don't want to put their neck out unless they know Biden is in this," 
said Jon Cooper, finance chairman of the Draft Biden super PAC, and a top Obama 
fundraiser. "But I have no doubt he'll be able to put together a national 
fundraising infrastructure in place overnight." He estimated the PAC would 
raise as much as $3 million over the next few weeks.

   Asked about the possibility of Biden running, House Democratic leader Nancy 
Pelosi, D-Calif., told the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, "I just don't 
know. I just don't know."

   She added: "I think there's a lot of excitement in the country to have the 
first woman president of the United States. ... We want to win. We have to win."


(KA)


 
 
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