From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro
*** What's next for Hillary? Today, Clinton hosts a party for her campaign staff at her home in DC. And tomorrow is the day she officially bows out of the presidential race and endorses Obama. But then what? Does she take the Ted Kennedy route and try to be a master of the Senate? Does she opt for the Nixon path to make another run for the White House or even a different office (governor)? Or does she put herself in a better position to be Obama's veep? Clinton has always learned from her mistakes and reinvented herself in the process. As the Atlantic's Josh Green wrote in 2006, she failed as an insurgent first lady trying to overhaul the nation's health-care system and later became a more cautious senator and presidential candidate. And after running as the establishment, experienced, and inevitable candidate against Obama, she then turned herself into the underdog trying to stick up for the underclass. As she asked on Tuesday night, "What does Hillary want?"
*** Sur-prise! The big news today, of course, is Obama's secret meeting last night with Clinton. It began when Obama's traveling press discovered that Obama wasn't on the flight back to Chicago. Then the media raced to Clinton's Washington home, only to find out that the two met at Sen. Dianne Feinstein's house in DC. It was very important that Obama was able to get this done before Clinton speaks tomorrow; it might have a positive influence on what she says, assuming the meeting went well. Then again, who knows -- remember that Obama-Elizabeth Edwards meeting didn't go well (or so legend claims). The Obama and Clinton campaigns released this joint statement: "Senator Clinton and Senator Obama met tonight and had a productive discussion about the important work that needs to be done to succeed in November." The press corps might be mad the meeting was done in such a cloak-and-dagger way. But what choice do we give these candidates when we're staking out so many locations of both candidates at this point?
*** Pander alert: Obama's lucky we're all so obsessed with secret meetings, because his apparent reversal on Jerusalem -- telling AIPAC that the city must remain "undivided" and then backtracking yesterday by saying to CNN's Candy Crowley that the city should be up to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians – could be used by McCain as an example of inexperience. Did Obama, in his exuberance to win over Jewish voters, just say what the group wanted to hear regarding Jerusalem? Or did he not realize what he was saying? All in all, this wasn't a good moment for Obama. He's just lucky no one noticed -- for now. Look for McCain and the RNC to jump on this a bit today.
*** Bush-McCain watch: Is it good for McCain to ever have a headline that indicates he's moving to closer to Bush on an issue even if the issue is on McCain's strength of national security? Here's the front page of today's New York Times: "Adviser Says McCain Backs Bush Wiretaps." And here's another Times headline: "Bush Overstated Evidence on Iraq, Senators Report."
*** Stuck in the middle with you? It's interesting for veepstakes watchers to see the McCain ask both Charlie Crist, Mitt Romney and Tom Ridge to sign up with Joe Lieberman for the "Citizens for McCain" bipartisan support initiative. It's not hard to imagine that one of these four folks will be McCain's running mate. Is this group an attempt to make the eventual pick look as bipartisan as McCain? Speaking of Lieberman, there's plenty of news about him today -- whether it's his "Citizens for McCain" group, his meeting on the Senate floor with Obama on Wednesday, or today's Washington Post piece looking at his relations with Democrats.
*** On the trail: McCain is in Miami, FL, where he raises money and holds an event on the Everglades. Obama is down in Chicago.
Countdown to Dem convention: 80 days
Countdown to GOP convention: 87 days
Countdown to Election Day 2008: 151 days
Countdown to Inauguration Day 2009: 228 days
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