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Has Our Long National Nightmare Ended?

12:02 PM, Jun 3, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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An AP report suggests that Hillary Clinton will indeed shut the circus down tonight:

WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation's first female president.

Obama is 40 delegates shy of clinching the nomination, but he is widely expected to make up the difference Tuesday with superdelegate support and votes in South Dakota and Montana. Once he reaches the magic number of 2,118, Clinton will acknowledge that he has secured the necessary delegates to be the nominee.

The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City.

She will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.

Most campaign staff will be let go and will be paid through June 15, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge her plans.

The advisers said Clinton has made a strategic decision to not formally end her campaign, giving her leverage to negotiate with Obama on various matters including a possible vice presidential nomination for her.

Lord knows I don't have the Clintons' sense for nuance, but I don't understand what leverage she'll retain if she concedes that Obama has won. Seems to me she would have a lot more leverage if she disputed the results. Besides, the latter course of action would make for much grander comedy.

I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight a portion of this report that really rankles. The AP says she was making "a bid to be the nation's first female president." While it's never been my way to kick a candidate when he/she is down, this gives Hillary way too much credit for her putative path breaking. Hillary Clinton was only a serious candidate for president because of her marital circumstances. As such, even if she had won, her accomplishment would have had an asterisk next to it. It doesn't seem like the message we want to offer our daughters in the 21st century is, "You can also be president! (As long as you marry the right fella.)"