In the Arena

What Happens Next

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Yankton, South Dakota

As Karen points out below, there are all sorts of signs and signals beginning to leak out that the end of the Clinton campaign is in sight, although on the flight here from Rapid City, Clinton’s spokesman Mo Elliethee tried his best to bat them all down.

But, if Hillary Clinton wants to have any shot at the vice presidency–and, more to the point, heal the Democratic Party’s wounds and win back the affection of those Obama supporters she has offended in this long, brutal campaign, she will take the following steps:

1. Turn her concession speech into an Obama endorsement on Tuesday night.

2. Money talks: Have her finance team contact the Obama campaign finance people tomorrow and announce that they will begin a massive, coordinated fundraising effort for Obama among her supporters–with some big number as a goal. (This might also encourage the Obama campaign to help settle some of Clinton’s debt when the campaign is over.)

3. Agree to barnstorm immediately–like next week–with Obama in the big states where she did well that Democrats will need to win in November. Ohio and Pennsylvania come to mind.

4. Ask her friend and supporter Ellen Malcolm to organize a massive “Women for Obama” rally to be held in some major city. She should introduce Obama at this event and say, “This man will be the best president for the women of America since my husband held the job.” She should do the same with her Latino supporters and also for Jewish voters on Florida’s southeast coast.

5. At her speech to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting on Wednesday morning, she should include this sentence: “Israel has no greater friend than Barack Obama…and just imagine what a message it will send when President Barack Obama makes plain his unflinching support for the state of Israel to the international community.” (If she wants to take a risk, she might add the Hussein between Barack and Obama.)

In other words, if she wants to be considered as a possible vice president she’s going to have make herself indispensable to the Obama campaign during the month of June…and even if she doesn’t want the job, she can begin the process of winning the affection of those Democrats she lost in this tough, tough campaign.

Then again, Clinton has just started speaking here in Yankton–a bad, echoey sound system has her sounding as if she’s slightly tipsy…but not less feisty. She’s making her usual case that she’d be a stronger candidate than Obama–including the spurious argument that she’s “won” the popular vote. Oh well….

Update: The heavy, heavy hand of symbolism…Clinton lost her voice while speaking here in Yankton and had to turn the microphone over to her daughter Chelsea. Happened twice–and I must say that Chelsea handled her duties well, describing her mother’s health and energy policies in typical Clintonian detail…Now Hillary’s back–and still selling the gas tax holiday. Oy.