POLITICS
03/31/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Heilemann, Like Noonan, Suggests That Clinton Camp May Be Fracturing

On today's Meet The Press, Peggy Noonan got ears burning when she suggested that there was some matter of dissension in the ranks of the Clinton campaign, saying that Clinton is "surrounded by people who would adore the chance to be for Obama." She added, mysteriously, "One of her top aides, who kind of privately makes it clear that he knows that he himself is an insurgent character and that it would be wonderful to be a part of Obama's insurgency but that he is backing Ms. Clinton."

Noonan otherwise made her animus for the Clinton's fairly readily apparent, which was just one of the factors that made me think she was worth dismissing. Others included the fact that last week, Clinton's surrogates weren't working the Reverend Wright angle particularly hard - Charles Schumer and Nita Lowey both backed off of hammering Obama on his association with Wright. Additionally, Clinton's position in the race for the nomination - while obviously hampered by the math - is nevertheless very strong where perceptions are concerned: she's had a pretty good couple of weeks (outside of perhaps the whole Bosnia matter) and is well-poised for a win in Pennsylvania, which is sure to give her some momentum. Additionally, and perhaps critically, the superdelegate flood to Obama has, in the past fortnight, subsided.

On Chris Matthews' show, panelists Norah O'Donnell, Clarence Page, and Elisabeth Bumiller all basically agreed that Clinton was nowhere near the point where she'd be thinking about leaving the race. But there was one outlier: New York Magazine's John Heilemann, who echoed some of the things Noonan would say on Meet The Press:

HEILEMANN: I think that one thing that's happening internally is that some of her top people are starting to say to her, "We won't stick with you. We won't keep working for this campaign if it's going to destroy Barack Obama." She's starting to hear that from her people and she's starting to kind of see it.

MATTHEWS: How do you know that?

HEILEMANN: [archly] How do I know that? Reporting.

The one thing I'd caution is that if you look back, rumors of internal dissension seems to always precede Clinton's momentum-swinging victories. Everyone was supposed to be getting fired in New Hampshire, but Clinton's win forced the press to table their obituaries. And the week before her Ohio win was fraught with Mark Penn-bashing from within the campaign.