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Clinton Pushed Meek To Quit Florida Race

From the Politico:

Bill Clinton pushed Kendrick Meek to quit Florida race

By: Ben Smith
October 28, 2010 

Bill Clinton sought to persuade Rep. Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race for Senate during a trip to Florida last week — and nearly succeeded.

Meek agreed — twice — to drop out and endorse Gov. Charlie Crist’s independent bid in a last-ditch effort to stop Marco Rubio, the Republican nominee who stands on the cusp of national stardom.

Meek, a staunch Clinton ally from Miami, has failed to broaden his appeal around the state and is mired in third place in most public polls, with a survey today showing him with just 15 percent of the vote. His withdrawal, polls suggest, would throw core Democratic voters to the moderate governor, rocking a complicated three-way contest and likely throwing the election to Crist.

The former president’s top aide, Doug Band, initially served as the intermediary between Meek and Crist, and Clinton became involved only when Meek signaled that he would seriously consider the option, Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna confirmed to POLITICO.

“The argument was: ‘You can be a hero here. You can stop him, you can change this race in one swoop,’” said another Democrat familiar with the conversations, who said Clinton had bluntly told Meek that he couldn’t win the race.

Just try to imagine the firestorm if someone in the Republican Party, especially a former President, tried to force a black candidate to drop out in favor of a white candidate?

Also, we should recall that this isn’t the first time the Democrats have done such a thing. Lest we forget, Mr. Obama tried to get David Paterson to drop his bid for governor of New York. And, of course, he eventually got his way.

Moreover, this story reminds us of Joe Sestak’s claims of Bill Clinton trying to get him to drop out of the race for Senate in Pennsylvania. Which, you will recall, Mr. Clinton denied at the time.

Crist also confirmed the planned scenario Thursday night, telling MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann: "I had numerous phone calls with people very close to President Clinton."

And Clinton himself described the conversations in an interview with CNN.

“He was trying to determine what was the best thing for him to do,” Clinton said, adding that Meek was simply too short on cash to break through. “I knew it was being discussed, people had discussed it on and off… it was no secret.”

“He was trying to think about what was the best thing for Florida,” Clinton said.

So much for Charlie Crist being an ‘independent,’ by the way. Mr. Clinton wouldn’t be going to bat for an independent. Or even a RINO.

In a press conference, Meek issued a calibrated denial, taking issue with the statements by Crist and Clinton’s spokesman.

"Any rumor or any statement from anyone that says I made a decision to get out of the race is inaccurate at best," Meek said. "There was never a deal."

Meek conceded that Clinton had asked him about reports that he was going to drop out, but suggested that he’d quickly ended the conversation, and he stressed that he had never actually decided to drop out.

Clinton did not dangle a job in front of Meek, who gave up a safe House seat to run for the Senate, but instead made the case that the move would advance the congressman’s future prospects, said a third Democrat familiar with the conversations.

Uh huh. Of course, we know that Mr. Clinton would never offer anyone a specific job if they would drop out. After all, that would be illegal.

Clinton campaigned with Meek in Florida on Oct. 19 and 20, and thought he had won Meek over. But as the week wore on, Meek lost his enthusiasm for the arrangement, spurred in part, a third Democratic source said, by his wife’s belief that he could still win the race. Clinton spoke with Meek again at week’s end, three Democrats said, and again Meek said he would drop out.

“It was a completely done deal,” one source said.

The Crist, Meek and Clinton camps even set a date for an endorsement rally: the following Tuesday, Oct. 26. Meek was to give Crist his blessing and explain to his disappointed supporters — many of whom deeply distrust the governor, who was elected as a Republican — that their votes could save the Senate for the Democrats and save America from the rise of Rubio, who is viewed both as a hard-line conservative and a potential national figure.

The White House, Democrats said, had knowledge of the plans and viewed them as a path to capturing the Senate seat, but did not initiate the talks.

But Mr. Obama didn’t try to stop this, either. In fact, he might be see Mr. Rubio as a threat for 2012.

Last weekend, however, Meek changed his mind.

“Not being seen as a quitter was more important than stopping someone who was so opposed to what you and your party had stood for,” said one Democrat who had been hoping to close the deal.

In an appearance on CNN Thursday night, Meek specifically denied that any joint rally had been planned

Here’s a tough question. Who is the liar here? Mr. Clinton, Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek? After all, they each have such sterling reputations for veracity.

In any case Charlie Crist clearly wasn’t kidding when he said he "would do anything to win the election." From the Washington Post’s Plum Line:

Charlie Crist asked Clinton camp to suggest Meek drop out, source says

By Greg Sargent  | October 28, 2010

Charlie Crist personally called a top adviser to Bill Clinton and asked if the former president would discuss with Kendrick Meek the possibility of dropping out of the Florida Senate race, according to a source close to Clinton

According to a source close to Clinton, the former president’s conversations with Meek were directly initiated by Crist. He called top Clinton lawyer Doug Band and asked him if Clinton would make the appeal directly to Meek, the source tells me.

Crist’s role in trying to get Clinton to persuade Meek to consider dropping out will add to a sense of Crist’s desperation in the final days of a race that appears to be swinging towards Marco Rubio.

When you think about it, Mr. Clinton seems to be doing for Charlie Crist what he has done for Mr. Obama in the elections. And that is to hurt him by ‘helping’ him.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 29th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Clinton Pushed Meek To Quit Florida Race”

  1. P. Aaron says:

    It’s obvious, the Dems are not offering Meek enough of a bribe to drop out of the race. Where’s all that walkin’ ’round money’ the Dems have?

  2. BigOil says:

    So we have the first black President trying to strongarm a black Senatorial candidate out of the race – with the complicity of a half black President to help out the first orange candidate.

    Racial politics have become so confusing.

  3. tranquil.night says:

    “When you think about it, Mr. Clinton seems to be doing for Charlie Crist what he has done for Mr. Obama in the elections. And that is to hurt him by ‘helping’ him.”

    Operation Reverse Chaos? It seems pretty likely with the rest of the circumstantial evidence. Hilldawg is eating popcorn while the regime goes down in flames.

    They’re voraciously eating their own now.

  4. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Bill Clinton, like the wee barry obama, never subscribed to the school of “Never miss an opportunity to remain silent”.

  5. proreason says:

    Now we know the Republican they fear the most.

    • tranquil.night says:

      You’re right Pro. That “generational choice” ad must’ve scared the turd out of the bowel-impacted. Now Clinton, Obama, Meek and Crist are all just being exposed like poopy pants electioneering liars again, and they’re back-stabbing eachother now on top of it. Humorously sad.

    • proreason says:

      WSJ now waiting a respectful 48 hours before echoing parrothead posters on conservative websites.

      “He has never met or spoken with Sarah Palin, who backed him. But with the political persona unveiled in this campaign, it’s not hard to imagine him taking her place as the Republican in America who turns the most heads. For many people to his left, that’s a scary prospect. ”


  6. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”

    Marcus Tullius Cicero

  7. Adam Moreira says:

    I don’t think that anyone is lying. However, it does appear to be a one-way street where Clinton is talking but Meek isn’t listening.

    As for Marco Rubio as a threat for 2012—are you kidding me? Maybe if he serves as governor of FL for a few years later on, he will be a legitimate threat, but he would have had even less time in the Senate than Obama now.

    Maybe in 2020 or 2024, but not 2012.

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