Will Hillary Rain on Obama’s Parade?

The story I’d been hearing for some time has finally emerged in the mainstream media: namely that Hillary Clinton, her husband, Bill, and many of her major financial supporters, known as “bundlers” are so livid at what they see as underhanded — I’ve even heard it called “vindictive” — play by the Obama team, that it’s been suggested the Clintons intend to eviscerate what ought to be Obama’s coronation at the Democratic Party Convention in Denver next week.

There are reports that there will be a roll-call for delegates, in the hope that this crystallizes the magnitude of Hillary’s support.

Inevitably, all it would realistically do is highlight the rawness of the wounds from this year’s campaign trail battle — which is precisely what Obama wants to move on from.

The Clintons are doing their best to resist him.

Only a week ago, an effort was made by Hillary’s supporters at the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee in Pittsburgh to abolish caucuses, not least because Clinton’s supporters have long alleged that Obama won in Iowa — the crucial first caucus (where Hillary came third) because Obama supporters were bussed in from Illinois.

The efforts in Pittsburgh were rebuffed, but resentment lingers.

One New York-based Hillary bundler told me he is upset that Obama has not raised more than the half a million dollars he promised towards helping her clear her debts. (She still is $25 million in the red). He won’t be “bundling” for Obama.

Apparently he is not alone.

As of June 30th, only 10 of the 300 or so big Clinton bundlers had switched camps. (There has been some movement in July but it is said by sources to be insignificant.)

Also, angered Clintonites say they still hold a grudge towards David Axelrod, Obama’s campaign chief, who sent an email to reporters highlighting Hillary’s “I will continue” speech back in May, where she had alluded to Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.

“For Obama to come out, as he did, and say ‘we think it’s a non-story’ was ridiculous” says one Clinton backer. “Axelrod was the one pushing the story.”

But Clinton’s biggest gripe remains Obama’s hiring of Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary’s former campaign chief, and the declaration that Solis Doyle would be chief of staff to whomever Obama picks as Vice President.

“That,” says someone close to the Clintons, was “interpreted as personal. To appoint the VP’s chief of staff months before you’ve picked a VP is highly unusual — particularly given the fractious relationship between Patti and Hillary. It was as good as telling Hillary “It’s not going to be you.”

From Obama’s perspective, one wonders, is he mad or clever, giving both Clintons the stage in prime time consecutive nights before he speaks at the Convention?

One thing is for sure. When he finally appears in Denver, his speech needs to be better than his best. It isn’t just the times that call for more than a rockstar. His party does too. V

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