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An Alternative View Of Loyalty

Unsurprisingly, Bill Clinton dissents from the view Bill Richardson laid out in his op-ed yesterday. Check out this San Francisco Chronicle account of Clinton lashing out during a recent meeting with superdelegates (via the Page):

But as the group moved together for the perfunctory photo, Rachel Binah, a former Richardson delegate who now supports Hillary Clinton, told Bill how "sorry" she was to have heard former Clinton campaign manager James Carville call Richardson a "Judas" for backing Obama.

It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade.

"Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that," a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted.

The former president then went on a tirade that ran from the media's unfair treatment of Hillary to questions about the fairness of the votes in state caucuses that voted for Obama. It ended with him asking delegates to imagine what the reaction would be if Obama was trailing by just 1 percent and people were telling him to drop out.

"It was very, very intense," said one attendee. "Not at all like the Bill of earlier campaigns."

For what it's worth, I agree with Bill on the dropping out question--Obama supporters shouldn't go there, if for no other reason than self-interest. There's no way Clinton's dropping out as long as she keeps winning big primaries. When Obama supporters suggest she should, it just makes Hillary look like a victim, energizes her supporters, and rallies people to her side. (As I've said before, a lot of voters don't want her to win, but many don't want her to lose either.)

Having said that, it's arguable that had Obama lost eleven contests in a row in February--and the last one by nearly 20 points in a state people thought he could win--he may very well have been forced out. (The pressure from the media would have been intense.) So I'm not sure there aren't advantages to being Hillary Clinton when it comes to questions of exiting the race.

Update: Chris points out one other problem with Clinton's comments.

--Noam Scheiber