Former Hillary Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn is advising the senator from New York to remain in the Democratic presidential nomination race through the convention just in case another Rev. Jeremiah Wright-type scandal emerges.
Penn, who reportedly still has former President Bill Clinton's ear, is pushing for Clinton to fight on to "preserve her options, nothing more or nothing less."
Penn says Clinton should suspend her campaign in spite of Sen. Barack Obama having enough delegates to win the nomination, but urges her to keep on regardless of what happens these next few months, according to sources inside the campaign.
Penn argues that if another scandal is revealed – which both Democrats and Republicans believe may still be in the offing – all those superdelegates pledged to Obama will flock to Clinton before the convention.
Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea are said to be in the Penn camp, but that may have changed in recent days. Hillary, however, has kept her own counsel, people close to her say.
Clinton's delegate wrangler Harold Ickes, who helped lead Sen. Ted Kennedy's presidential bid against former President Jimmy Carter at the 1980 convention, is still conflicted, sources say.
Ickes indicated earlier this week that he would like to reverse the DNC ruling that delivered four Clinton delegates to Obama last Saturday. He is, on the other hand, distinctly aware of the damage a protracted campaign will do to the party.
A member of congress, who was listening in on a conference call with several dozen pro-Clinton House members yesterday, says Rep Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., gently prodded Ickes to make a decision on Clinton's future by the end of the month.
"We've got to do this by the end of this week!" Ickes responded.
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