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Howard Fineman dropped a bombshell tonight on Countdown.  On the lead story, about Hillary Clinton's decision to suspend her campaign, Fineman reported that figures in Hillary's campaign reached out to strong Clinton supporters in the Senate to talk her into dropping out!  

Fineman didn't identify his source, other than to say it was someone inside the campaign "who would be identified as a hard-core supporter."  People inside Clinton's campaign arranged an intervention by her peers to get her out of the race, knowing she had lost and apparently also knowing that she didn't know it.

Stunning.  Fineman's words below the fold.

Here's my rough transcript, about 4:10 into the video:

... [A]nd to add to what Andrea was just talking about, there was another conference call involving senators, eight senators who were supporters of Hillary's, very hard core supporters of Hillary Clinton's.

And here's the added wrinkle to it:  they were urged to assemble that conference call and to speak frankly to Hillary by some of the top strategists around Hillary -- I can't use the names -- but people you would associate with a hard-line defense of Hillary's position, who called the Senate and said "Look.  You guys are Hillary's strongest supporters -- you gals also.  Get in there and tell her to get out."  

And we're talking about senators such as Barbara Mikulski, and Ben -- and Senator Nelson, and even Chuck Schumer, and others were reached out to by people around Hillary, strategists who said "You've got to get to her and get her out of this thing."  And that's what they accomplished by this afternoon, so she will do it on Friday, she will get out of the race -- suspend, use whatever word you want -- but more important, endorse Barack Obama.

The Democratic party has more of an instinct for self-preservation, apparently, than an instinct for loyalty to the Clintons.  I guess we can all be grateful for small favors.

UPDATE: Thanks to all of you for your kind recommendations and wonderful comments.  I feel the need to add a grace note.  

Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as comparing slavery to "... having a wolf by the ears: you could not hold on long, but you could not let go either."  This may be as useful a way of understanding Hillary's predicament in the last few months as any.  It's as magnanimous as I can be right now, anyway.

Originally posted to Dallasdoc on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:13 PM PDT.

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