Friday, June 13, 2008

Hillary Or Else! Say NJ Fundraisers:
Money "Bigs" aka "The Group" Pressure Obama to Show Respect

At least some members of a cadre of heavyweight Democrat fundraisers for Hillary Clinton in New Jersey -- known by their somewhat pretentious moniker, "The Group" -- have recently been throwing their weight around, trying to openly pressure Barack Obama into selecting Hillary Clinton as his running mate.

Designated by political web site, Politickernj earlier this year as big "winners" in the Presidential primary sweeps held back on Super Tuesday, they are now looking for respect -- they say for Hillary Clinton. But clearly it is also for themselves.

Max Pizarro reported the latest on Politickernj late last night, in a piece entitled, "Post primary loss, The Group waits for Obama to show Clinton 'respect.'"

Here are the first few grafs from Max's story:

Hillary Clinton’s top fundraisers in New Jersey want Barack Obama to offer their vanquished candidate the vice-presidency in a show of respect to her and her 18 million supporters.

"If I don’t see the respect for Hillary Clinton, I will vote for him, but will I be a proactive person? No," said John Graham, national co-chair of fund-raising for the Clinton campaign and one of the money men in that small and powerful circle of Clinton fundraisers in New Jersey known as "The Group."

"Respect is offering her the position with her right of taking it or not taking it," Graham explained. "He can win without her, but Hillary in the picture gives him Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida."
Naturally, they do not want the personally raised $4.4 million dollars, or the $6 million total that they helped raise here for the junior senator from New York in her unsuccessful bid for the brass ring, to be entirely flushed down the drain, given her still-born national campaign.

But publicly pressuring Barack Obama to show her the proper respect and offer her the position, while several of the members who participated in a conference call -- not just Graham -- suggested they would not be "pro-active" unless Senator Obama does what they demand?

She, of course, won the New Jersey primary battle on Super Tuesday ( February 5th) but the nationwide results, generally viewed as indecisive at the time, turned out to be the high water mark of her campaign. Earlier in the season, our Democrat-controlled legislature, along with the Governor, changed the state's Presidential race participation vote back to Super Tuesday (from early June), which ended up putting the state as merely one state among the many -- 24 states in all. What resulted was a horde-rush of returns from which she failed to cross the finish line, as had been anticipated by her supporters.

Barack Obama survived. And Hillary's campaign, lacking any real plan going forward, literally collapsed by the side of the road for a spell. She had no strategy and insufficient resources going forward. She tried to play catch-up, losing race after race for 11 or 12 weeks. Obama had lapped her in the race. By the time she started to close in again -- next door in Pennsylvania -- it was too late. Obama eventually crossed the finish line.

Our Legislature and Governor thereby wasted significant taxpayer funds changing the date, and inadvertently may have eliminated any influence the State could have had if we held the presidential primary at the regular primary date in early June. Ironically, New Jersey could well have been in a position of "king-maker" in the Democrat sweepstakes.

Now, it seems The Group wants to make up for their political loss, represented by their fundraising prowess earlier this year, by pressuring Obama into signing on Hillary for the number two slot, in order for them to be "pro-active." Are they essentially suggesting that in order for them to pay, they want Obama to play? Sure sounds that way!

It would also seem that the core members of "The Group" for Hillary Clinton may have changed a bit, as well. Cited here was the list of members as reported on Politickernj by Wally Edge, on November 20, 2007.

Back then, according to Wally, the list consisted of the following six individuals:

John Graham, Michael Kempner, Alfred DeCotiis, William Harla, Rev. Reginald Jackson, and Mayor Meryl Frank [of Highland Park].
Now, as reported on Politickernj by Max Pizarro, we learn the core membership of The Group includes "around eight people."

Here is how he put it last night:
A cadre of around eight people that includes [John] Graham, Al DeCotiis, Michael Kempner, Reginald Jackson and Zenon Christodoulou, The Group ended up personally pulling in $4.4 million for Clinton, and served as the Jersey catalyst for raising $6 million total for the New York senator’s presidential campaign.
As you can see, Zenon Christodoulou is new to the list -- at least to the Hillary-centric list. He's from North Branch in Somerset County, and a newly-elected Vice-Chair of the Democratic County Committee in that Republican stronghold, who will reportedly be busy with the local freeholder race, as well as concentrating the Congressional race of Assemblywoman Linda Stender against Hunterdon County's State Senator, Republican Leonard Lance. So will John Graham be involved on Stender's behalf.

Looking back, it was barely one year ago that at least some of those on what is now the current list of The Group were busy raising money and awareness, pulling for Mark Warner of Virginia to run for President.

Prognostication in politics is a spotty talent to be sure, as Governor Corzine and Senator Menendez also learned this year!

Times change; and frustration apparently mounts.

But Max's story only named five of eight people in The Group. The original Hillary list as cited by Wally, also included Bill Harla and Mayor Meryl Frank . . . that would make seven.

Again from Max's story today:

On Wednesday, core members of The Group participated in a conference call in which they discussed the way forward. Graham said Newark Mayor Cory Booker reached out to him at a recent fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy at the Robert Treat Hotel and at least one representative from the fund-raising arm of the Obama campaign placed a phone call to him. But to date there’s been no formal meeting or armistice between the democratic presidential campaigns here.

Like Graham, several participants in yesterday’s conference call said they’d be loathe to go all out for Obama unless Clinton is on the ticket. Asked today if Clinton wants to be vice-president under Obama, Graham said, "she’ll take it."

Core members of a core group. Interesting. Did a few of the members -- say, Harla and Frank -- demur when it came to employing the obvious pressure tactics? Did they, in other words, decide not to participate in the conference call? As for the "several participants" who, like Graham agreed with the pressure tactic -- how many is "several?"

Then, too, who might be that elusive and unnamed eighth member of The Group? Could it possibly be someone especially close to one of the other members, from days gone by?

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At 6:47 PM, June 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Group suffers from the same sense of entitlement that eventually brought the Clintons down. Hillary thought she was second-in-charge when Bill was president, and as vice president, she'll think she's the one in charge, just waiting to make her role official after she assassinates Obama. It's not just a matter of upstaging him; she'll make sure that he doesn't finish out his first term.

OTOH, naming Hillary as Obama's running mate could very well be the death knell for his campaign.

At 9:00 PM, June 13, 2008, Blogger Thomas O. Meehan said...

Ahhh, the smell of estrogen in the morning! It smells almost like victory!

Hillary has gone doggo, disappearing completely from view. So what do these clowns hope to accomplish? Perhaps they think Obama can't raise money in New Jersey. If so, they're mistaken. The legions of PhD googoo's in places like Princeton, Montclair and Millburn alone can raise millions.


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