POLITICS

Top Obama-Clinton Officials Begin Reconciliation Process

06/17/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The reconciliation process between the upper echelons of the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns has already begun, as advisers and fundraisers look for areas of commonality in a somewhat disjointed party.

Three Clinton negotiators - all confidantes of the Senator and her husband - have been dispatched to Chicago to spearhead this effort, a source told The Huffington Post. Bob Barnett, a powerhouse Washington lawyer, Cheryl Mills, another lawyer, and Minyon Moore, a political consultant, were meeting today to discuss three key areas of negotiations: what role Hillary Clinton will play at the Democratic convention in August, the nature of her involvement in Obama's general election campaign, and the Obama campaign's plans to help alleviate her campaign debt, which is believed to be around $30 million.

Such plans seemed expected. What may be more interesting, the source adds, is the B-matter. For starters, the Obama campaign is pining to reap the benefits of Clinton's large-scale fundraising apparatus. A meeting, as reported by Greg Sargent at Talking Points Memo, has been scheduled for this Thursday in Manhattan, with the New York Times estimating that some $50 million to $75 million could be on the table for Obama.

The big loot that remains to be raised by the Hillraisers, however, seems likely destined for the Democratic National Committee, whose coffers are in need of repletion. Individuals are allowed to donate $28,500 to the DNC - which is coordinating efforts with Obama - as opposed to $2,300 to the Obama campaign. Obama has begun organizing joint fundraising ventures on the party's behalf.

The most potentially sensitive matter in the negotiations may very well be about how to handle Clinton's high-profile political supporters. According to a source with knowledge of the Clinton campaign's machinations, there is concern among some members of Congress, particularly those in the Congressional Black Caucus, that Obama won't aggressively support their reelection efforts because of their alliances with Clinton. A few black House members fear primary challenges.

"These members are already facing some heat for backing [Clinton]," said a source close to the New York Democrat's campaign. "But that has been going on for a while. In some place in these negotiations between the Clinton and Obama campaigns, there will be a discussion of them providing not just economic help but moral support. That will be limited to the places where they have primaries."

"I'm sure," said the source, "that [Clinton] is saying, 'Please do what you can to make sure that the people supporting me aren't punished."

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