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What Clinton is telling -- and hinting to -- her disappointed supporters

June 5, 2008 |  9:04 pm

Tonight on his show, Jay Leno will open his monologue with a sports joke. He congratulates the Detroit Red Wings on winning the NHL championship Wednesday night and says the vanquished Pittsburgh Penguins announced today they will finally concede their loss on Saturday.

But let's say you've been a loyal supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton in her onetime-front-Losing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks earlier this week in Washingtonrunner-then-hopeless-and-now-terminated campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a woman, you so wanted to elect the first woman president. Maybe you even gave her effort some of your own hard-earned money.

And you've seen Sen. Barack Obama acquire sufficient delegates to claim the nomination. And you've also seen your chosen candidate not concede after her win in South Dakota on Tuesday and her loss in Montana.

That night Clinton did invite her millions of supporters to go to her website and leave suggestions on what she should do. (They'll also find there a brief video of Clinton thanking people with some unusual phrasing: "I could not have made this part of the journey without you.")

So as a Clinton supporter you go the comments section and leave a heartfelt note re-avowing your support but ...

... suggesting it's time for the New York senator to face the political realities and give it up. And you go to bed then feeling like you spoke your piece.

But how surprised are you come morning to find in your e-mail a letter from Sen. Clinton? It's a form letter -- self-serving, of course -- one that also went out to donors, but personally addressed, explaining her thinking and plans for the next few days.

The letter is also revealing about one thing it doesn't explicitly say. See if you can discern what that is.

That actually happened to a friend of The Ticket's on Wednesday. And we're going to print the whole thing below so everyone can see it and leave their own remarks on The Ticket's comment section below.

Here it is:

"Dear Angela,

"I wanted you to be one of the first to know: on Saturday, I will hold an event in Washington D.C. to thank everyone who has supported my campaign. Over the course of the last 16 months, I have been privileged and touched to witness the incredible dedication and sacrifice of so many people working for our campaign. Every minute you put into helping us win, every dollar you gave to keep up the fight meant more to me than I can ever possibly tell you.

"On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Sen. Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Sen. Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Sen. McCain and the Republicans.

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

"When I decided to run for president, I knew exactly why I was getting into this race: to work hard every day for the millions of Americans who need a voice in the White House.

"I made you -- and everyone who supported me -- a promise: to stand up for our shared values and to never back down. I'm going to keep that promise today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life.

"I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Sen. Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.

"I know as I continue my lifelong work for a stronger America and a better world, I will turn to you for the support, the strength, and the commitment that you have shown me in the past 16 months. And I will always keep faith with the issues and causes that are important to you.

"In the past few days, you have shown that support once again with hundreds of thousands of messages to the campaign, and again, I am touched by your thoughtfulness and kindness.

"I can never possibly express my gratitude, so let me say simply, thank you.


Hillary Rodham Clinton"

Now, did you figure out the unspoken message?

She's going to run again. Put that in the bank.

One, political operations don't make this kind of investment and rapid response without another motive; manners by themselves are too expensive and time-consuming. And, two, re-read the seventh paragraph: "I know as I continue my lifelong work for a stronger America and a better world, I will turn to you for the support," etc. You're in her data bank right now for future reference and use. Count on it.

Now, what does everyone think of this -- the letter, her support of Obama, her likely future candidacy?

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo Credit: AP / Elise Mendola