Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kendrick Meek Zombie Watch: Clinton Asked Meek to Drop Out

Bill Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna confirmed to Politico that the former President asked Kendrick Meek to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist. Clinton asked Meek to drop out during October 19 and 20. Another source told Politico that Meek agreed to drop out.

“It was a completely done deal,” one source said.

The Crist, Meek and Clinton camps even set a date for an endorsement rally: the following Tuesday, October 26. Meek was to give Crist his blessing and explain to his disappointed supporters – many of whom deeply distrust the governor, who was elected as a Republican – that their votes could save the Senate for the Democrats and save America from the rise of Rubio, who is viewed both as a hard-line conservative and a potential national figure.

Doug Band served as the intermediary between Meek and Crist, and Clinton. It seems Stephen Moore's Wall Street Journal article may have been closer to the truth than expected by many. (Including myself.) The date of Moore's article is 11 days before Clinton first asked Meek to drop out.Team Meek would not respond to Politico's request for an interview. That is a clear sign they do not want to go on-the-record refuting a story that is true.

Obviously, Meek changed his mind. What is interesting is Clinton's endorsement cleared the path for Meek nomination and thereby killing any chance of Democratics picking up the Senate seat. Even Clinton came to the conclusion that Meek's campaign was hopeless. I wish Clinton realized this before endorsing Meek.

Update: Crist Crist campaign spokesman Danny Kanner confirmed to Joy-Ann Reid that the Politico story is true.

“While this story is accurate, the Governor’s focus is on uniting common-sense Democrats, independents, and Republicans behind his campaign because he is the one candidate who can defeat Tea Party extremist Marco Rubio and deliver bipartisan results for Florida in Washington.”

Update: Eric Jotkoff of the Florida Democratic Party released this statement.

“Kendrick Meek is the only candidate who has fought for middle class families, he is the only candidate who stood up to George W. Bush’s attempts to privatize Social Security, and is the only one who has always showed up to defend our Democratic values by standing up to the extremist Republicans. Because Kendrick Meek is the leader we need in the U.S. Senate to fight for us, the Florida Democratic Party is proud to continue fighting to elect Kendrick Meek to the U.S. Senate so he can continue working for everyday Floridians and to bring jobs to the Sunshine State,” said Eric Jotkoff, Florida Democratic Party spokesman.

The press release doesn't mention the Politico article. It is pointless to do push back against factual statements. It appears the D.C. establishment is torpedoing Meek in the hopes of holding onto the Senate majority. The internal polling numbers must be horrible for the Senate races.

Update: RNC chairman Michael Steele is suddenly a Kendrick Meek fan.

"One can only imagine the response if GOP leadership tried to force out...a qualified black candidate like Kendrick Meek”

Steele will find out when the Republican establishment won't let him have a second term at the RNC.

Update: Dave Hoffman from the Meek campaign confirmed part of the Politico story. Hoffman contends that Meek never agreed to drop out. Hoffman does confirm Clinton brought up the subject of Meek dropping out.

Dave Hoffman said “that was discussed, yeah,” but Hoffman denied that Meek had ever agreed to drop out.

Hoffman said he could not characterize what Clinton said, but then said, “I think ’suggest’ is probably the best … not ’suggest’ … but that (getting out) was discussed yeah.”

Hoffman said the issue was raised as, “Hey, if you want to do this … That was more of the nature of the conversation.”

Hoffman said Meek “never agreed to drop out” and was committed to fighting through Election Day.

Update: Peter Schorsch tweeted this.

Kendrick Meek to hold, um, emergency press conference tonight at 9:30.

I am not a Charlie Crist fan. That being said, the best chance to keep Marco Rubio from gaining a Senate seat is for Meek to drop out. I'm not counting on it. Meek seems content on burning his bridges with the Democratic establishment. I have said this repeatedly and said by it. Meek does not have the support of the Democratic establishment and voters. The Politico leak was designed to force Meek out of the race. Democrats don't love Crist. They are terrified of Rubio becoming a major political star.

Update: Joy-Ann Reid blogs that Meek is denying Hoffman's confirmation that Clinton discussed dropping with him. McKenna and the Crist campaign have gone on-the-record on this. So has Meek's own campaign. Meek is denying conversations with Clinton that his campaign confirmed. If you want proof that the entire Meek campaign has been amateur hour then look no further than this. This shitty campaign's confusing message during the entire cycle can be blamed on a man who has no business running in a statewide race.

Update: Meek statement to CNN.

"The president came down to do an event for me in Orlando and St. Petersburg. We talk politics all the time. He said I heard this thing about you getting out. I said, 'I'm not getting out.' I said Charlie Crist needs to get out of the race. And that was that," Meek said.

That doesn't sound like an actual conversation. That sounds like Meek's increasingly passive aggressive campaign rhetoric. Remember Meek yelling during a debate that he is 6'4 and Senators would have to go through him in order to change Social Security. Is Meek going to challenge Chuck Grassley to a fight? The guy has a temper as bad as John McCain's.

Update: Campaign manager Abe Dyk is now walking back Hoffman's confirmation. This is like watch a car crash in slow motion.

"The article is not true. Kendrick Meek was never dropping out of this race, is never dropping out of this race, and will never drop out of this race. Kendrick Meek will always stand up for the middle class and will not leave Floridians a choice between two lifelong conservative Republicans who only stand with the special interests. Kendrick is the Democratic nominee so if anyone should drop out, it's Charlie Crist,” said Meek campaign manager Abe Dyk.

The problem for Dyk and the Meek campaign is two sources confirmed to Jake Tapper of ABC News that Clinton asked Meek to drop out. It is hard for Team Meek to do push back when people within the Democratic Party are telling the media the story is true.

From Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald.

"I am running. The press report was inaccurate at best."

And he's losing in the polls.

Meek is already a zombie candidate. I didn't think it could get worse. Boy, was I wrong.

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At October 28, 2010 9:31 PM , Blogger Kenneth said...

We certainly agree on how badly all this was handled.

At October 28, 2010 9:38 PM , Blogger Michael Hussey said...

Bipartisanship. It gives me hope.


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