4.26.2008

Backlash: Hillary Clinton has lost support from major donors as well as black congressional leaders.

Major African American Congressional leaders, as well as major Clinton supporters have had enough.

From the Washington Post:

The protracted and increasingly acrimonious fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is unnerving core constituencies -- African Americans and wealthy liberals -- who are becoming convinced that the party could suffer irreversible harm if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains her sharp line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama.
The backlash began last month with hoards of donors having had enough:

More than 70 top Clinton donors wrote their first checks to Obama in March, campaign records show. Clinton's lead among superdelegates, a collection of almost 800 party leaders and elected officials, has slipped from 106 in December to 23 now, according to an Associated Press tally.

"If you have any, any kind of loyalty to the Democratic Party, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy and bow out gracefully in order to save this party from a disastrous end in November," Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.), an African American Obama supporter, said in an appeal to Clinton.

Rep. James Clyburn has had enough:
"If this party is perceived by people as having gone into a back room somewhere and brokered a nominee, that would not be good for our party," House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (S.C.), the highest ranking African American in Congress, warned yesterday. "I'm telling you, if this continues on its current course, [the damage] is going to be irreparable."

"We keep talking as if it doesn't matter that Obama gets 92 percent of the black vote, because since he only got 35 percent of the white vote, he's in trouble," Clyburn said. "Well, Hillary Clinton only got 8 percent of the black vote. . . . It's almost saying black people don't matter. The only thing that matters is how white people respond.
The donor backlash is from small potatoes:

There are signs that the anger voiced by some African Americans is beginning to extend to the Democratic donor base. Campaign finance records released this week show that a growing number of Clinton's early supporters migrated to Obama in March, after he achieved 11 straight victories. Of those who had previously made maximum contributions to Clinton, 73 wrote their first checks to Obama in March. The reverse was not true: Of those who had made large contributions to Obama last year, none wrote checks to Clinton in March.

"I think she is destroying the Democratic Party," said New York lawyer Daniel Berger, who had backed Clinton with the maximum allowable donation of $2,300. "That there's no way for her to win this election except by destroying [Obama], I just don't like it. So in my own little way, I'm trying to send her a message."

Her biggest, most influential donors (can you spell Puerto Rico?) have jumped ship:

Donors are not the only ones who have made the leap. Gabriel Guerra-Mondragón served as an ambassador to Chile during Bill Clinton's presidency, considered himself a close friend of Sen. Clinton, and became a "Hill-raiser" by bringing in about $500,000 for her presidential bid.

But he had a fitful few weeks as the battle between Clinton and Obama turned increasingly negative. Last week, he decided he had seen enough.

"We're just bleeding each other out," Guerra-Mondragón said when asked why he had decided to join Obama's finance committee. "Looking at it as coldly as I can, I just don't see how Senator Clinton can overcome Senator Obama with delegates and popular votes. I want this fight to be over -- the quicker, the better."

The biggest fish in New York has had enough as well:

The Obama converts include William Louis-Dreyfus. The billionaire New York financier said he had been impressed by Clinton's performance in the Senate and distressed by eight years of the Bush administration when he donated the maximum to her campaign last August. Then, he said, he began watching more closely.

"However much one might have supported the Clintons, or one might support the usual suspects in the Democratic Party, I began to believe Obama represents a new approach. He gives off such a sense of relevance that he's sort of irresistible," Louis-Dreyfus said.

He also expressed, as did other big givers who crossed to Obama, exasperation about the tone of the Clinton campaign and frustration with the candidate herself.

"At the end of the day, all she had to do was open her mouth for me not to believe her," Louis-Dreyfus said.

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