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Nice Catch for Hillary

by Pamela Leavey

Nice catch for Hillary… She has won the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa is considered to be one of the most influential and powerful Democrats in California and among the top “most influential Hispanics in the nation.”

With the endorsement, which is to be announced today in Los Angeles, Mrs. Clinton has outflanked her Democratic presidential rivals — including Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, the first Hispanic to seek the party’s nomination — in a crucial primary state with a large number of Hispanic voters and Democratic convention delegates.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr. Villaraigosa described a lengthy courtship by both Clintons, starting with a phone call from Mrs. Clinton on the January morning when she announced her presidential candidacy.

The mayor also recalled conversations with her at his Los Angeles home and at his office; two private dinners in Washington; and several phone conversations. He also said that he spoke with Mr. Clinton for 45 minutes about an endorsement, and that he and the former president were working together on a project to reduce global warming. The two men also had dinner at the Kobe Club in Manhattan this month, he said.

“From that first morning, I talked to her and heard from her more than any other candidate in the race,” said Mr. Villaraigosa.

For several of the Democratic candidates, the Villaraigosa endorsement was pursued as a huge political prize, which it may turn out to be.

Yes, indeed, Antonio’s endorsement may turn out to be the prize here in California. Kerry supporters will remember that Antonio was an early endorser for the Kerry campaign and a campaign chair. I personally have a lot of respect for our Mayor, who I had the pleasure of meeting many times during the Kerry campaign in ’04 and after. I might have preferred he waited a while longer to give the other candidates a better look, but the I see some writing on the wall with this endorsement. The field of candidates is a large one, but there still remains only a couple of frontrunners and Villaraigosa sees something in Hillary that sets her apart…

This is the deepest and most talented field of Democratic presidential hopefuls in recent memory,” Mr. Villaraigosa said, “but Hillary has demonstrated a strength and an experience that I think sets her apart.”

The N.Y. Times reports that his endorsement of Hillary, “will enable Mr. Villaraigosa to build more political and fund-raising connections around California and the nation as he prepares for a widely expected run for governor in 2010, political analysts said.” His early endorsement of Kerry certainly was a great stepping stone for him. personally, I’m all for him running for Governor in 2010. I’m still not ready to jump on board any presidential campaign, yet. But good for Hillary — the endorsement really is a nice catch.

UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee has more on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

RELATED POST: Feinstein Endorse Hillary.

20 Responses to “Nice Catch for Hillary”

  1. “This is the deepest and most talented field of Democratic presidential hopefuls in recent memory,” Mr. Villaraigosa said, “but Hillary has demonstrated a strength and an experience that I think sets her apart.”

    Huh?

    I’m a big fan of Villaraigosa, and I really, really hope he’ll be governor some day. So I guess he and I will have to agree to disagree on this one :)

  2. Democrafty

    Antonio has smarts. I don’t neccessarily agree either but he pegged JK. He also has proven he has the ability at least here in L.A. to mobilize both the Hispanic and the Black vote. He’ll be a huge assett for Hillary.

  3. “This is the deepest and most talented field of Democratic presidential hopefuls in recent memory,” Mr. Villaraigosa said, “but Hillary has demonstrated a strength and an experience that I think sets her apart.”

    Sorry to be cynical, but if this field is so deep and talented, why didn’t they run in 2004 if Bush was supposedly “beatable”?

    Guess they just wanted to concede 2004 and not have that “I lost to an idiot president” hanging over their heads cause they know that Bush won’t be running in 2008 and it will be much easier than 2004.

  4. Indie

    Edwards did run in ’04, so did Kucinich. Hillary was smart not to jump in so early after first getting elected to the Senate and personally I think Obama is too green. As for the rest, who knows.

    I personally would not take Antonio’s comment as an afront the last election or to the good Senator we all love and respect.

    Hillary is a smart saavy woman. I don’t agree with her on everything, and honestly I think in many ways she is fighting a similar type of odds as JK did in ’04. She’s dissed sometimes more than she deserves – why because she’s a woman for one thing.

  5. Pam,

    I forgot to not include Obama, Edwards, and Kucinich.

    You are right, it’s just feels like 04 was a set up just for so this field could run in 2008.

    Just feeling frustrated I guess.

  6. Indie

    I don’t think ’04 was a set up so this field could run. Honestly it’s hard to hold any of the candidates up to JK in my book, but folks like Antonio who are in the thick of it are making choices that are expedient for themselves.

    I see stuff I like from each of the Dem candidates and stuff I don’t. Until my daughter goes off to college, I’m hanging and watching and listening now and then and trying to be less judgmental and more objective. I would guess JK is weighing it all too.

  7. Indie

    I also feel very strongly about women in power getting dissed because they are women in power. Nancy P gets it all the time. As a strong minded woman on many levels I can relate to them. Ultimately for me though it will be who I think has the best position on the issues. So time will tell.

    Keep a good thought… we’ve got a long ride ahead before this election is over! :)

  8. I personally think that if the Democrats want to assure a Republican win, all they need to do is nominate Hillary Clinton. Having been First Lady for eight years, as a nominee she would carry too much baggage. Some, but not all, of the baggage would be:
    1. The fact that she. “stood by her man”
    even though she was totally aware that
    he repeatedly cheated on her. These
    marrital indiscretions go back to 1989.
    Supposedly Bill asked her for a divorce
    in 1989, so he could marry another
    woman. Hillary refused his request.
    I realize these matters may not seem
    significant to us, but they will be
    played up big time by the Republicans.
    The fact that she “stood by her man” will
    also not play well with a lot of women.

    2. If nominated, the immediate question will
    be. “What will Bill do.” This country
    has never had a “First Man” before. To
    make the concept even harder to digest
    for the electorate, our first, “First
    Man” would be an ex-President. This, in
    and of itself, would be a turn off to
    many.

    3. The fact that Hillary’s grand plan for
    medical reform, advanced during Bill’s
    first term, was a huge flop will be
    revisted many times by the Republicans.

    4. I am positive that the entire “White
    Water” scandal will be trotted out again
    and be totally rehashed.

    5. Now it has come to light that Bill and
    Hillary may be heavily indebted to big
    industry lobbiests for travel expenses.

    6. The main reason that she would take our
    party to it’s third consecutive defeat is
    that she seems, perhaps justifyably,
    totally narcisistic. It is fairly
    well documented that she has had a
    burning, almost uncontrollable, desire to
    be President from the moment that her
    husband’s political star began to rise.
    Many will see this as the reason that
    she refused his request for a divorce.

    7. Lastly their is a, perhaps valid,
    perception that her election would
    represent the continuation of a two
    family executive branch dynasty. If
    Hillary ran and won for two terms, it
    would mean that a Bush or a Clinton
    would have been the head of (or part of)
    our executive branch for 36 years. As
    follows: George H.W. Bush, Vice President
    under Reagan (8 years), George H.W. Bush,
    President (4 years), Bill Clinton,
    President (8 years), George W. Bush
    President, (8 years) and then perhaps
    Hillary Clinton, President (8 years)
    Americans, by in large, do not buy into
    a continuation of the Bush/Clinton family
    dynasty.
    I could go on listing additional baggage which Hillary would carry, but won’t for now.
    America wants a new name, a fresh face, a youthful person who thinks outside the box, a person of high integrity, and someone who has charisma and reinstills their pride in being American. We have such a person and his name is Barack Obama! For any who have doubts, I would encourage you to read his totally inspiring book, “The Audacity of Hope.” I firmly believe he is the only hope for our party and county. He can instill in this country a pride that we have not experienced since the short-lived Presdidency of JFK!!

  9. Buzz

    Not to defend Hillary so much here, but honestly I know a lot of women who get why Hillary stood by Bill. She’s got a lot of support from women, I know a lot of women that look me oddly when I say no I am not supporting Hillary now, I am not supporting anyone yet.

  10. Buzz,

    I understand many of the points you made about Hilary and must say some of those issues are of concern to me. While many may feel the marital info is trivial, we know digging personal dirt and keeping dirt in the news is what our media often keeps on the tube. Yes, they will be bringing up dirt on all candidates as that is part of the game. However, there is a point of fatigue with the multitude of people, images, etc. from over the last 20 years with the Clintons.

    I do feel Bill was a great president and I continue to admire him, but I can’t get past that blurring effect of “Billary”. I can’t get past voting for her to get the success he brought. Not saying that I don’t respect her and hope that a woman can achieve the highest office. But I tend to be thinking that him being around is her greatest asset instead of invisioning her alone as sole President. This is where it gets too foggy…once I wipe the fog from my rose-colored glasses, I really do want something NEW…NOW! New from every angle. So far, I have to agree with you Buzz – Obama has that appeal needed to focus us on the challenges of a new generation.

  11. DAS

    “once I wipe the fog from my rose-colored glasses, I really do want something NEW…NOW!”

    In the last election it was totally all about JK for me, I was never anyone but Bush person. This time it’s lie get Bush the F out of there for me and just give us a damn Dem! I don’t care who yet.

    Obama is talking a lot of goodstuff but I still have the feeling he’s too green. They all have quirks and things I don’t like including Hillary.

    I do see Antonio’s endorsement as significant though. He’s smart and saavy – street smart, he’s a motivator. Given that he mobilized the Hispanic vote and the Black vote in L.A., he’s a powerful asset for Hillary.

  12. It’s maybe a good indicator of my doubts about Hillary that , in the event that she did become the Democratic nominee, I’m as worried about the consequences of her winning the presidential election as I am about her NOT winning the White House for the Dems.

    I am not thrilled with our choices to date, to say the least.
    I find myself hoping for some unexpected turn of events: primary votes that don’t come out according to the media and beltway-strategist horse-race predictions, or we have a different roster of candidates: new candidates, or current candidates who turn out to be better than I thought, or worrisome candidates who drop out of the race.

    I hate everything about 2008 so far.

    Of all the women in political life right now, my greatest hero at the moment is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Scary to think that she seems to be the lone voice of thoughtful reason and humanity on the SCOTUS these days.

  13. Pamela,

    I agree, the endorsement is a boost for Hilary. This is one of many high profile endorsements she will get. Hilary is definitely at a major advantage compared to the others. That name recognition – her social/political connections run so deep nationally and internationally. This is truly an uphill battle for the other candidates. It will definitely take a genuine Dem with the will to work hard to take away her all-but-delivered nomination. She is popular and anyone endorsing her (especially one who has future political aspirations) will benefit from being around her).

    She is intelligent and capable for the job but I also see other candidates that I want to have their day in the spotlight – the ability to build a relationship with the American people. So in the end her political machine may prove to be an asset or a setback. Some will see it as let’s go with what seems to be a sure thing (her advantage) or some will see it as much power & and not much passion (her disadvantage).

    Can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I would love to hear some opposing views from those who may not see this endorsement as very influential on Blacks and Hispanics. While initially it does look very positive, I wonder if it is not as conclusive as it seems.

  14. DAS

    I think still at this point it is an uphill battle for any of the candidates including Hillary. Anything can change between now and the start of the primaries. Unfortunately the way they have completely overloaded the primaries next winter it may not take long to know who the nominee will be.

    I know in the article about the endorsement a Richardson spokesman totally wrote off the power of Antonio’s endorsement. If Richardson were higher in the polls, I might agree, but for now, I don’t see it.

    I could be wrong, but my gut instinct is this will have clout for Hillary.

  15. Pure political calculation may well factor in to the announcement by the Honorable Mayor. Announce early, and get a leg up if he does jump on the right wagon. But even if he doesn’t, no one else can afford to alienate the mayor of L.A., so he’ll still come out okay. There’s not any real downside here.

  16. Darrell

    Antonio also endorsed Kerry very early on – I believe it was just about 4 years ago if I am not mistaken.

  17. Pamela, My personal opinion is that if you look at who is running instead of who isn’t, we could do alot worse than Hillary in the general election, and in The Whitehouse. And she’d probably be more acceptable to some on the left if she could run as “Rodham” instead of “Clinton”.

    My other general observation is that The Democrats have a primary situation where they may well do more harm to our chances than the other side does. I’ll be alot less nervous when it gets down to one-on-one and people can finally start to really focus.

  18. Darrell

    I agree on all counts. Honestly I can’t wait in some regards until it is over. I’m not vested in this election like I was with Kerry and find it hard to get interested in getting vested at this point. Once my daughter goes off to college I’ll probably start caring.

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