Gelt Trip

Hillary desperately shops for gold — and the right brand — after Super Tuesday gives way to Ashes Wednesday.

Now that Barack Obama has caught her, Hillary Clinton is going on a shopping spree for cash — the safe way, from the now-shaky Democratic establishment. It's hubby Bill Clinton who's expected to bring home the groceries from his buddy Ron Burkle, the supermarket billionaire.

Clean up in all aisles, Bill!

Number today as a crossroads in the presidential campaign — actually a crossing of the paths of the campaign and the still-bloody Iraq War, news of which has been pushed back to the grocery ads in your struggling daily papers. The digits are truly lined up:

3,216: Total number of delegates needed for successful nominations (2,025 for Democrats, 1,191 for Republicans).

3,212: Total number of American soldiers killed in action in Iraq as of February 7, 2008.

Just a day or so away from synchronicity. What's your magic number? Anyway, forget about Iraq and focus on the presidential race. Maybe we'll find out that Obama is also leaving a trail of glittering sleaze behind him on the campaign trail, but for now, Hillary has a commanding lead when it comes to that.

So Americans want change? Hillary, for one, hasn't crossed over to a different aisle, despite what prominent newsmongers are omitting from their stories. Check this out and see if it registers: Blinded by celebrity, the Washington Post's Eli Saslow reports today on Hillary's supposed success in California. Actually, Obama did far better than expected in that Democratic-establishment stronghold. Saslow writes about "Clinton's California dream team," starting out with an anecdote about Rob Reiner, one of the Hollywood meatheads supporting her. Getting to the point in a style typical of the supermarket tabloids, Saslow writes:

Reiner was one of those backers Clinton called on, and there were many others — people such as Amy Rao, a Silicon Valley businesswoman adept at fundraising; Antonio Villaraigosa, the dynamic mayor of Los Angeles; and Dolores Huerta, a labor activist beloved in the dusty San Joaquin Valley.

These four Californians were emblematic of the support Clinton received from the entertainment and technology industries and from the state's Latino leaders. In the week before the Super Tuesday contests, they pushed her message from the opulent ballrooms of San Francisco to the Mexican tiendas of East Los Angeles, working 20-hour days to combat Obama's accelerating popularity. But as Reiner watched the two candidates take the stage to a standing ovation, he couldn't help but wonder: Would their work prove powerful enough to stop Obama?

The Post is so often at the head of the daily-paper pack that it's shocking that this article makes no mention of Ron Burkle, the former bag boy who became Bill Clinton's most dependable bag man. For a quick study of Burkle, read Jason Horowitz's "The Complete Ron Burkle," a quick-and-dirty April 2006 rundown in the New York Observer.

More recent is "What’s Hidden in the Latest Numbers," John Heilemann's excellent piece of numerology in New York magazine. Here are a few of Heilemann's numbers from the February 6 piece:

$32 million, $13 million, $5 million, and $20 million. The first of these is how much the Obama campaign raised in January — a staggering figure. The second is how much the Clinton campaign raised that month — a relative pittance. The third is the amount, we learned today, that Hillary personally loaned her campaign in the past couple of weeks. And the fourth is the amount that her husband, Bill, is reported to be due as a payout after severing his ties with Ron Burkle — and which, presumably, will soon be available to pay for TV ads in Texas and Ohio.

It's Obama against the Democratic establishment, so prepare to be inundated by ad after ad after ad. While Bill Clinton gets cash back at the head of the line, you might want to go back to aisle 14 for the Dramamine.


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