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Chattering Class Tells Clinton to Quit

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Chattering Class Tells Clinton to Quit

Election 2008

Chattering Class Tells Clinton to Quit

Chattering Class Tells Clinton to Quit

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After Tuesday's results, many inside and outside Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign are no longer asking, "What now?" Instead, pundits, superdelegates and even her own aides say it's time to consider bowing out. Correction: in this story we identify former Senator and democratic presidential nominee George McGovern as a superdelegate. He is not a superdelegate. We regret the error.

BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.

(Soundbite of music)

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR Studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, Whopper with cheese, hold the tomatoes, please. I'm Rachel Martin.

MIKE PESCA, host:

And I'm Mike Pesca. It's Thursday, May 8th, 2008. Do you have to say with cheese? Don't Whoppers come with cheese? Don't you have to rather say without cheese?

MARTIN: I can't remember. Is that true? Are they always with cheese?

PESCA: I would think. It's called the Whopper.

MARTIN: I think you do have to say "with cheese." Do you know that back when I ate all that stuff all the time when I was in high school, there was a deal? You could get two Whoppers for two bucks.

PESCA: Back when I ate all that stuff, a little time I like to call "last night." It's not that much more expensive, adjusted for inflation.

MARTIN: No, you get two fries, too! Two burgers, two fries, for two bucks.

PESCA: Oh, my Lord.

MARTIN: With the food crisis, it's definitely a different time these days. Why are we talking about this? Not just because it's early and we are hungry for Whoppers. We're going to talk this hour about a case of intrigue and underhandedness surrounding Burger King and tomato pickers. Apparently, a Burger King executive has been tied to these blog posts and emails that basically say he is spreading some misinformation about an effort to secure a pay increase for the tomato pickers. More on that story with the reporter who's been covering it.

PESCA: And looking at the electoral futures market, candidates are treated like commodities like corn or pork bellies, and their predictions are often better than the predictions of the polls and pundits.

MARTIN: And the preservation of the Geechee culture on the island called Sapelo. Did you even know there was a Geechee culture, and did you know there was an island called Sapelo? I didn't.

PESCA: Let's see. Yes to the first. No to the second.

MARTIN: It's off of Georgia, the State of Georgia, and this small little island has one general store. No schools. No banks. It's a very tightly-knit community, as you might imagine, of a few dozen African-Americans with a dialect spoken only by a handful of people in the world, and they are upset about development diluting the culture there. We are going to talk with one of the islanders coming up on the show. We're also going to get the latest news headlines in just a minute. But first...

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbite of press conference)

Senator HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (Democrat, New York): I'm staying in this race until there is a nominee.

MARTIN: In spite of pressure from inside and outside her party, Hillary Clinton says she is not going anywhere. That was the presidential hopeful yesterday in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Here she is making her case yesterday in the nation's capital.

(Soundbite of speech)

Senator CLINTON: You can turn elections in a day. You can turn them in a week if you know what it takes to actually win.

PESCA: That may be true, but the problem for Senator Clinton is that it looks increasingly like the turn she described already happened on Tuesday, and it was a turn for the worse for her. It came in the form of a clear defeat in North Carolina, and a very narrow win in Indiana. Since then, the chattering classes have been clamoring for Clinton to withdraw from the race. It all began late Tuesday night when NBC's Tim Russert said this.

(Soundbite of TV show "Countdown with Keith Olbermann")

Mr. TIM RUSSERT (Host, "Meet the Press"): We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be, and no one is going to dispute it, Keith. You know, sometimes in campaigns the candidate is the last to recognize the best timing. It's very much like being on life support. Once they start removing the systems, you really have no choice.

MARTIN: Soon after that, presidential advisor turned pundit David Gergen said this on CNN.

(Soundbite of TV show "CNN LIVE EVENT: Obama Wins North Carolina; Clinton Narrowly Wins Indiana Primary")

Mr. DAVID GERGEN (Senior Political Analyst, CNN): I think the Clinton people know the game is almost up.

PESCA: And that man is conventional wisdom personified. Of course, these are the same folks who've spent the previous two months telling us what a close race it was, even though it was a near mathematical impossibility for Clinton to surpass Obama in pledged delegates. But I digress.

MARTIN: How unusual. Yesterday, former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, who is a party superdelegate, announced he is switching his support from Clinton to Obama, and encouraged Clinton to drop out of the race to avoid dividing Democrats.

PESCA: Then Clinton suffered a truly crushing blow, worse than the loss of any one politician's support. That's right, someone made a website declaring her candidacy to be finished, and as we all know, they don't let just anyone do that.

MARTIN: It's currently one of the most dugg sites on Digg. It's just one single page, hillaryis404.org. It replicates that 404-error page you get when you try to go on a website that doesn't exist anymore. It has a faded picture of Clinton, and says, quote, "This candidacy cannot be found." It goes on to encourage Clinton supporters to rally behind Barack Obama.

PESCA: As for Clinton, she says she will fight to get the disputed delegations from Michigan and Florida seated at the Democratic National Convention. But even if that happens, she probably still won't have enough pledged delegates to surpass Obama.

MARTIN: You can go to npr.org throughout the day for updates on this story. Now let's get more of the day's news headlines with the BPP's Mark Garrison.

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