Clinton denounced the internal memo suggesting "a new approach to winning," saying she has no intention of not participating in the Iowa caucuses next year.
After a Des Moines Sunday Register poll showed Clinton trailed John Edwards and Barack Obama in the state, a memo from Mike Henry suggest Clinton's campaign money may be better spent in states that show the NY Senator is faring better than third place. Henry wrote:
I believe we need a new approach to winning the Democratic nomination. This approach involves shifting the focus away from Iowa and running a campaign that is more focused on other early primary states and winning this new national primary.
Because California, New York and Florida have moved up their primary dates, all presidential candidates are scrambling to adjust their approach for gaining their parties 2008 presidential nomination. These primary moves seem to be effecting the junior Senator from New York the most, because her strategy of projecting herself as the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee is facing a stiff challenge from Edwards and Obama.
Henry went so far as to say Iowa is "the weakest link" in the presidential hopes of Clinton.
Polls in Iowa have consistently shown Edwards winning the state primary even though most national polls give the overall edge in almost every other state to Clinton. Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, has privately pondered and acknowledged the that maybe Clinton should not waste her time with state.
Henry's leaked memo suggests it will cost roughly $15 million to campaign in Iowa, and he believes the money is better spent elsewhere. Henry wrote:
We have the opportunity to change the focus of the campaign from a traditional process (Iowa first) to a campaign that favors us.
Once the Clinton campaign found out this memo was leaked to the media, Clinton staffers moved quickly into damage- and spin-control mode by offering a plausible explanation. Clinton said:
This memo offered the views of one person. I didn't see the memo and didn't know about the memo until it apparently fell into the hands of someone outside the campaign.
Clinton also went on to say that debates about the best course of campaigning is normal in any presidential effort.
Clinton also said she makes the final decisions about what direction her campaign takes, but feels a they are well-served when there is healthy debate about how it should run.
Speaking on condition of anonymity,other advisers in Clinton's "inner circle" feel Iowa has long been the focal point of her campaign, and Clinton agrees.
Clinton has all ready won the support of Gov. Vilsack and his wife, Christie. These two often accompany Clinton during her Iowa campaign stops. Clinton is showing her dedication to Iowa by making numerous stops in Western Iowa starting this Friday.
Former Sen. John Edwards came close to winning the 2004 Iowa primary, and thus has been stumping extensively in Iowa. In addition, Obama's campaign advisers sense their may be "blood in the water" because polls in Iowa show Obama may be the best nominee for the general election.
The Iowa caucus-goers have gained increasing power and influence within the Democratic party ever since Jimmy Carter rose out of nowhere in 1976 to win the Iowa caucus and eventually the presidency.
However, Former President, Bill Clinton, skipped the Iowa caucus in 1992 because one of his rivals, Tom Harkin, was from Iowa. By-passing the state did not hurt Bill Clinton because he still went on to win the 1992 Presidential election.
A top strategist for Hillary Clinton, Harold Ickes, said she has been weighing her options in the state because of the big influx of nominees for the 2008 election. He said:
Every campaign games out different scenarios and this is one scenario. The campaign is moving in Iowa, is going to stay in Iowa, and Mrs. Clinton is very dedicated to winning the state.
The 2008 Iowa caucus vote, scheduled for January 14, 2008, is still some time away and opinion polls can change. This means Clinton still has some time to decide if she wants to "fish or cut bait" when it comes to her involvement in this caucus.