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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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November 12, 2007 11:53 AM

None of state's "strong women" yet back Clinton

Posted by David Postman

In the Times this morning there's a story about how the state's top three Democrats, Gov. Christine Gregoire and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, have not endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. That didn't bother Clinton when she was in town recently and said she loves being in the state because we're not afraid of "strong women."
The argument that women politicians need to stick together has not convinced any of the state's top three politicians to back Clinton, though none have endorsed anyone else, either.

Gregoire reiterated her position that she doesn't want to endorse in the Democratic primary while fellow Gov. Bill Richardson is in the race.

"I don't think many Democratic governors have endorsed anyone," Gregoire said, adding that once Richardson either drops out or wins the nomination, more governors will announce their preferences.

So far nine of 27 Democratic governors in the country have endorsed either Clinton or Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Clinton has won backing from Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer duh, not Richardson. Obama is backed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

As to what happens when Richardson "either drops out or wins the nomination," Gregoire has already made it clear that she thinks Clinton will win the nomination.

David Broder went to the National Governor's Association in July when only a handful of governors had endorsed in the presidential race. He pointed out that the governors' reluctance was far different from their rush in 2000 to back Al Gore and George W. Bush.

He found a variety of excuses.

John Lynch, a New Hampshire Democrat, says he is concerned about protecting the primacy of his state's primary, so he wants to assure everyone a fair shake by staying uncommitted. Bill Ritter, the freshman Democrat in Colorado, says that because he will play host to the Democratic National Convention he does not want to offend. But Ritter rejects the notion that Richardson has some claim to Colorado's support because he comes from a neighboring Mountain West state or because he is a Hispanic with ties to that important Colorado constituency.


In reality, the governors' neutrality speaks to the failure of anyone in either party to put a clear stamp on this election.


Some see the governors' coyness as a way of positioning themselves for possible vice presidential nomination, while others suggest that neutrality is a polite way of saying no to peers or former peers who are running — Richardson, Romney, Huckabee and former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson.

Isn't it nice to know politeness isn't dead in politics today?

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