MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Speaking of too close for comfort, Senator Hillary Clinton is not exactly dropping out of the presidential race. On Saturday she says she will suspend her campaign, but keep her delegates. New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel has been a long time Hillary supporter. Here he is on "Fox News Today."
Representative CHARLES RANGEL (Democrat, New York): The problem with that type of philosophy is it puts the congressional delegation in limbo, because we leave Washington to go home without having endorsed Obama. And so we have to be able to say that he's won, and that we now have got to bring about unity.
BRAND: NPR's David Greene is here with more. And David, what exactly does that mean, that she would suspend her campaign, but keep her delegates? Why would she want to keep her delegates?
DAVID GREENE: Well, it's a good question. And we're not totally sure what she's going to do. An adviser told me yesterday that this is something that she's planning on at this point, hanging on to her delegates and just suspending her campaign. And this would mean, you know, she'd stop traveling, she'd stop her campaign activities, and she'd be essentially out of the race.
But it sort of keeps her there. I mean, delegates could still cast their vote for her at the convention. There's still a campaign that she could resurrect theoretically at some point and she can still raise money to help pay off her debts. And you know, it depends how she handles it. She could just fade away, or become a big supporter of Barack Obama. But there are also some questions about whether she'd really be stepping aside if she still had that campaign going and some money coming in.
And also, you know, what message she's going to send to those delegates, you know, does she hold on to them for leverage and wait a bit to tell them that they should all support Obama? Does she tell them that they should definitely all support Barack Obama at the convention? So it gives her still sort of a wedge into the campaign and keeps her there.
BRAND: Well she certainly has a lot, millions, of supporters, and very fervent supporters. So what is she telling them today?
GREENE: Well, she wrote an email to her supporters this morning. And I can't say that she was hugely complimentary of Barack Obama. There wasn't a lot there praising him. She simply said that her differences with Obama are small compared to the differences that she has with Senator McCain and the Republicans.
And she said, I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise. But mostly, thanking her supporters and saying that she was going to, you know, stand for them the rest of her life.
BRAND: But still saying that she would be a better candidate, in effect, against John McCain?
GREENE: Didn't really say that, which is what we heard the other night in her non-concession speech in New York City. So she's come some distance from the other night.
BRAND: Now this might be heartening for the people who voted for her, but it seems that the superdelegates and politicians in Washington are getting a little frustrated with this refusal to concede.
GREENE: Yeah, it's sort of a slow transition that we're seeing. And what one of her adviser's said to me was there's millions of people out there who adore her and are committed to her, and that she just didn't feel like she could jump out of the race and abandon them as soon as the final votes were in. They would feel like she was just leaving them behind and she still has some leverage over these voters. And I think a lot of people are looking for signals from her about what they should do now. I met a woman at Clinton's speech in New York City the other night named Lorraine Borden(ph) and she had this to say.
Ms. LORRAINE BORDEN: I would only vote for Obama if Hillary felt that was the right thing, and announced it to all of us. If Hillary said stay home and not vote, I would stay home and not vote.
GREENE: So I mean, you can tell for people like Lorraine, they're waiting to hear what Hillary Clinton has to say. So it's going to be really interesting to see what she tells her supporters this weekend.
BRAND: David, you've been traveling with the Clinton campaign for a very, very, very long time now, and you know, looking back on it now, when did the beginning of the end happen?
GREENE: It's hard to pinpoint. I mean, you could look back a few months ago to Obama's big win in Wisconsin, when it was starting to become clear that he had the pledged delegates and he was on a trajectory to have enough in the end, that there was no way for Hillary Clinton to come back. But a month ago, Obama got the huge win in North Carolina. Hillary Clinton barely wins Indiana. The Clinton campaign just didn't meet the expectations they were hoping for, and I think since then it's been a lot of just wanting to finish the marathon, so to speak.
BRAND: And it's not over yet.
GREENE: Maybe not. We'll see this weekend.
BRAND: NPR's David Greene. Thank you.
GREENE: Always a pleasure.
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