For weeks, the Clinton campaign has been dealing with the threat from Mr. Obama aggressively, if not in such a public way as it did on Wednesday. Mrs. Clinton's team, which includes toughened advisers like Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic Committee National chairman, has been sending signals, some gentle and some not so gentle, that it wants Democrats to choose between her and Mr. Obama and not hedge their bets.
At a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton in Hollywood two weeks ago, as Mr. McAuliffe told the story in an interview on Thursday, he joked in a crowded room that big contributors would be honored with limo rides with the new president while those who wrote checks to, say, Mr. Obama could give up their dreams of access.
"...[W]e the electorate earn the right to a vigorous debate," said Norman Lear, the producer, who has contributed to both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. Asked about Mr. McAuliffe's remark, he responded: "What's he going to do, jail me?"second congressional districtNoam Scheiber