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Cokie Roberts, David Shuster: Dems nervous, looking at possibility of Hillary dropping out, discussing replacements
Before we get started, please take a moment to ingest the biggest grain of salt you can find. We're about to enter the realm of abject speculation. However, rumblings we first heard 10 days ago have grown louder, so we'll do our best to break the rumors down.
Back at the beginning of the month, CBS News reporter Hannah Chanpong (who's currently embedded with the Clinton campaign) allegedly tweeted - and deleted - the following:
And... it's a fake. You can tell because it has a box for "favorites." A real tweet from September 2nd would have a space for "Likes." However, most of the internet doesn't care about reality, so the fake tweet took root and was reposted on a whole slew of conservative-friendly political sites.
Rumors began to spread that the Clinton campaign was hiding Hillary's imminent exit.
Now, the whispers are picking up steam - and they're no longer the subject of bogus social media posts. Real "journalists" and Democrat operatives are admitting that, behind the scenes, the party is in panic mode. They're very concerned about the possibility that Hillary will call it quits, and they're actively discussing possible replacements.
Check out this series of tweets, posted this weekend by David Shuster:
Top dem: "we can make contingencies, argue, plead with @HillaryClinton, but DNC bylaws are clear her nominee status now totally up to her."— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) September 12, 2016
In other words: "Crazy Uncle Joe is warming up in the bullpen, just in case we need to yank our starter."
This morning on NPR, Cokie Roberts basically confirmed Shuster's Tweetstorm by saying that Hillary's health had sidelined her campaign. “It’s taking her off of the campaign trail,” she said. “It has them very nervously beginning to whisper about her stepping aside and finding another candidate.”
You can listen to that here:
Obviously, Roberts dismisses the idea almost immediately by saying it's "unlikely to be a real thing." It can be tempting to buy into the rumors - particularly since the chatter about Hillary's health has been borne out - but Roberts is probably right.
If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the idea that Hillary's a "bitter clinger" when it comes to seeking the White House. She has no intention of dropping out. Even if she wanted to, she probably can't because she owes favors to so many people. To put it in "mob-speak" she's simply "in too deep."
So, while the story isn't going to go away, you shouldn't expect, hope for, or dream of a scenario where Hillary Clinton bows out.
If you're looking for conspiracy theories, try this one on for size: Hillary has to stay in the race. The minute she's no longer a political force, any high-level protections that she and the Clinton Foundation have been enjoying will evaporate.
She's running not just for President, but for self-preservation.