The news of John Edwards’ endorsement of Barack Obama was reported as Hillary Clinton addressed her top donors in her Washington, D.C., home today.
“It actually broke during the meeting, and I was passing my BlackBerry around when NBC confirmed it,” said one donor in the room. The reaction of the fund-raisers in the room was mixed, according to the bundler. “Some people said, ‘Shit, now we have to deal with this?’ Other people said, and I agree with this, ‘Who cares? Maybe if he did it two months ago. But now who cares?'”
Someone in the room sought to inform Clinton of the news by declaring out loud “Edwards has just endorsed Obama,” according to the donor.
Clinton responded calmly. “Well, we expected that. It wasn’t a surprise.”
According to the donor, the atmosphere in a nearby hotel where the donors met before heading over to Clinton’s house was tense. People were trying to figure out the most compelling arguments for her to continue.
“The campaign said they had one,” she said. “It was, ‘We are going to win the popular vote and let’s see what happens.'”
During the meeting Clinton betrayed no intention of backing down, and a separate donor present for the meeting called her “unbelievably focused, focused on winning. She believes in her heart that she is the best candidate and the best candidate to beat McCain.” That donor added that some people in the room were “skeptical, but Harold [Ickes] made a compelling case. But yes, Hillary acknowledged the challenges.”
Clinton was also apparently emotional. And according to one of the donors, her eyes welled with tears as her contributors expressed their commitment to her.