Take a look at the Hillary camp’s confidence.  It looks like the American people have made up their minds with several months to go.  I guess the other Dem candidates will be giving concession speeches instead of stump speeches...

OCTOBER 5, 2007,  6:07 PM

Call Him Mr. Exuberance


No one is a louder, zestier cheerleader for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential prospects than her campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe, a man who is not known for having a light touch.


Some Democrats get a kick out of Terry’s rah-rah roadshow for Hillary, which he has performed for voters in Iowa and other states in recent months. And some Democrats are decidedly turned off by his exuberance and confidence, especially those who aren’t too keen on Mrs. Clinton themselves.


Indeed, Mr. McAuliffe seriously alienated two Iowa Democrats during a drop-by at the Glenn Restaurant in Manchester, Iowa, on Wednesday. One of the Democrats, though, is a county precinct captain for Barack Obama, and another one is leaning pretty seriously toward Mr. Obama — and neither like Mrs. Clinton.


Their lack of neutrality aside, their description of some of Mr. McAuliffe’s remarks was intriguing. According to the two women — Pam Vislisel and Emma Edgington — Mr. McAuliffe argued:

Mrs. Clinton had the Democratic nomination almost sewn up;


If the election were held now, Mrs. Clinton would win Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and enough other states to win more than 350 Electoral College votes;


Mrs. Clinton was virtually moving to Iowa during the next three months to work her tail off to win the state’s first-in-the-nation nominating caucuses in January;


The Democratic nomination fight would be over after the Super-Duper Tuesday primaries on Feb. 5.


Neither woman could produce a recording of Mr. McAuliffe, nor were his remarks apparently covered by the local media. The women said in interviews that they found Mr. McAuliffe to be arrogant and boastful.


“I’m just getting a little tired of hearing — and I hear it on the news, too — that the election is in the bag, she’s going to win, she’s the only one, it’s over,” said Ms. Vislisel, the Obama precinct captain, who said she attended the McAuliffe event because she was curious about the Clinton campaign.


“I don’t think he should be coming into Iowa and talking about she’s going to win all these states,” added Ms. Edgington, who is torn between Mr. Obama and former Senator John Edwards. “It just seemed arrogant.”


Mr. McAuliffe was traveling and not reachable for comment. His spokesperson referred questions to Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, who knows Mr. McAuliffe well and works with him.


Mr. Wolfson, who was not at the Iowa restaurant and did not hear Mr. McAuliffe’s remarks, said he would be “very surprised” if Mr. McAuliffe said she had the Democratic nomination sewn up, because Mr. McAuliffe has been reported as saying that while the campaign was doing great, Mrs. Clinton was running like she was 20 points behind.


“He likes where we are, he thinks that we have a long way to go, the election is not today, and you’ve got to run like you’re down,” Mr. Wolfson said. “I would hope that one of our most important supporters is enthusiastic about our prospects.”


Mr. Wolfson also said that in the past, Mr. McAuliffe has expressed confidence that Mrs. Clinton would win the election if it was held today, carrying New York and California against Rudolph W. Giuliani and also Florida, Ohio and Arkansas (once her home state and, as I’ve reported before, an electoral target of some obsession for Bill Clinton).


“Rudy put out a memo saying he can beat Hillary. I don’t think it’s unusual for us to say, in response to that, that the polls show the opposite and that Hillary is doing well,” Mr. Wolfson said.


He also tamped down the notion that Mrs. Clinton was putting all of her time and energy into Iowa, akin to what John Kerry did in December 2003 and January 2004, when he virtually moved into the state to campaign non-stop before winning the caucuses.

“She’s doing to be spending a considerable amount of time in Iowa, and she’s going to continue to spend time in all of the early states,” Mr. Wolfson said.


Mr. Wolfson did concede one point to the two Iowa women — Mr. McAuliffe has said in the past that he believes the primary fight will be over after the Feb. 5 primaries.


Major Democratic donor is California fugitive

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said on Wednesday it would give to charity $23,000 that it had received from a prominent Democratic donor, and review thousands of dollars more that he raised, after learning that California authorities had a outstanding warrant for his arrest stemming from a 1991 fraud case.

The donor, Norman Hsu, said Wednesday that he will "refrain from all fundraising activities" until he resolves the case.

His statement came as other Democrats also sought to distance themselves, including Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken, whose campaign received $2,300 from Hsu. Franken joined California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; California Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui, and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania in saying they would divest their campaigns of Hsu's donations.

Hsu has donated and raised more than $1 million for Democrats, including $5,000 for Sen. Barack Obama's political action committee. On his own, he wrote checks totaling $255,970 to a variety of Democratic candidates and committees since 2004.

He is a member of Clinton's "HillRaiser" group, individuals who agreed to raise more than $100,000 for the senator's presidential campaign, and was slated to play co-host next month for a Clinton gala featuring the entertainer Quincy Jones. The event would not have been unusual for Hsu, a New York businessman from Hong Kong who moves in powerful circles.

A fugitive since 1992

But what was not widely known until this week was that Hsu, a Wharton School graduate who serves on the board of a university in New York, has been considered a fugitive since he failed to show up in a San Mateo County courtroom 15 years ago to be sentenced for his role in a scheme to defraud investors, said Ronald Smetana, an attorney with the California state attorney general's office.

He said Hsu collected about $1 million from investors by falsely claiming he had a contract to import latex gloves. He had pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft and was facing up to three years in prison.

When Hsu was scheduled to attend a sentencing hearing, he faxed a letter to his lawyer saying he had to leave town for an emergency and asking that the court date be rescheduled, Smetana said. But he did not show up for the rescheduled appearance. A clerk at the San Mateo County courthouse said the warrant was issued in 1992 and orders were for $2 million bail for Hsu if he were arrested. That was the last that California prosecutors saw of Hsu.

Smetana said he assumed Hsu had fled the country. He said he planned to ask a judge to sentence Hsu to prison. "We would obviously like Mr. Hsu to return and face justice."

On Wednesday, Hsu said through his attorney Lawrence Barcella Jr. that he "was surprised to learn that there appears to be an outstanding warrant -- as demonstrated by the fact that I have and do live a public life. I have not sought to evade any of my obligations and certainly not the law."

Under a shadow?

Hsu's travails have proved an embarrassment for the Clinton campaign, which has tried to dispel any lingering shadows of past episodes of tainted contributions. Already, Clinton's opponents were busy trying to rekindle remembrances of the 1996 fundraising scandals, in which moneymen were accused of funneling suspect donations into Democratic coffers.

Some Clinton donors said, however, that they did not expect the Hsu matter to hurt Clinton, unless a pattern of compromised donors emerged. Hsu's past legal problems were first reported Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times; the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that some donations connected to Hsu raise questions about his bundling activities -- raising funds from a group of donors and then giving them to the candidate -- although there is no evidence he did anything improper.