by Todd Beeton, Mon Jun 02, 2008 at 11:25:15 AM EDT
A lot of tea leaf reading today, but have to say, the convergence of several clues certainly seems to be pointing to a Clinton exit sooner rather than later.
First you have an astoundingly off-message Tom Vilsack:
Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor and a national co-chairman of Clinton's campaign, said Sunday: "It does appear to be pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee. After Tuesday's contests, she needs to acknowledge that he's going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him."
You also have the report of the e-mail that went out to advance staff indicating the end to campaign events:
An email went out to all advance staffers of Sen. Hillary Clinton telling them there are no events on the candidate's schedule beyond Wednesday remarks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
The email told staffers this was not goodbye but there were no plans beyond Wednesday for now.
And Ben Smith paints a fuller picture of Hillary's event tomorrow night:
...Clinton's event in New York appears to be something a bit bigger than a minor election night in two small states she's likely to lose might suggest.
The venue she's booked, at Baruch College, is quite large.
And Clinton's finance director, Jonathan Mantz, sent an email out to top donors inviting them to the event, of which I've obtained a copy.
Add to that this report from Marc Ambinder:
Clinton Campaign staffers and former campaign staffers are being urged by the Clinton campaign's finance department to turn in their outstanding expense receipts by the end of the week. That's a sign, to them, that the campaign wants to get its affairs in order soon. If Clinton were staying in the race, there'd be no real reason to collect these receipts now; she'd still be raising and spending money from the same primary campaign account. The campaign is in arrears to the tune of about $11 million.
Although Ambinder also reports some pushback by the Clinton campaign against the speculation that she'll concede tomorrow night:
Senior Clinton campaign aides privy to the construction of tomorrow night's election night celebration in New York insist that Sen. Clinton will not use the occasion to drop out of the race.
They project that Clinton will do better than expected in South Dakota, losing by a margin of less than ten points; they project a sizable loss in Montana.
It sounds to me as though tomorrow night will be more last hurrah than concession but it's sure sounding as though we're in for a concession of some sort this week. I know it will be bittersweet for many here (in fact, more bitter than sweet) but think of what a historic moment her endorsement of Barack Obama will be, certainly a dramatic end to such a dramatic and historic campaign.
Update [2008-6-2 16:11:45 by Todd Beeton]:Suspend not concede?
Hillary Clinton has summoned top donors and backers to attend her New York speech tomorrow night in an unusual move that is being widely interpreted to mean she plans to suspend her campaign and endorse Barack Obama.