Notes from the Dept. of Counting Chickens, Hillary Clinton Edition

It's one thing to believe you have the presidential nomination in the bag several months before the first votes are cast. But what does it say about a campaign when you're ready to celebrate several weeks before a debate?

That's what happened today on the Clinton campaign's Website. For a communications team that has a reputation for perfection, the Clinton group made the rookie mistake of posting what looked like a template for local groups to influence their hometown newspapers.

Perhaps the best line: "Insert quote from party host here--You can use the talking points on the Club44 web site to help you develop your quote about why you support Hillary Clinton. Ann Lewis will also provide you some guidance on the post-debate conference call."

There's nothing like a spontaneous outpouring of support for a candidate, after another successful debate. Complete with talking points, conference calls and developed quotes. Even if the debate in question is to be held in Las Vegas almost a month from today.

Club44, in case you were wondering, is "an effort to identify and mobilize young women voters who support Hillary Clinton for president," according to the campaign's website. It also sounds like an effort to channel their minds--ahead of time.

For her part, Hillary seems confident. "I'm overwhelmed by the support from the women of Club44," she said about the events that had yet to take place.

(When asked about the episode, a Clinton spokesperson called Newsweek's interest in it "a tad absurd.")

Full memo below:

10/23/2007

Women Of [Insert Your City's Name] Organize Club44 House Party for Hillary

House Party Coincides With November 15th Debate in Las Vegas, NV

For immediate release
November15, 2007
Contact: [Insert Name]
[Insert phone number]
[Insert e-mail]

On Thursday, [Insert city name]-area supporters of Hillary Clinton for President gathered at the home of [Insert name of host] to watch the latest Democratic presidential primary debate, held at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Approximately [Insert number] attended the event.

"[Insert quote from party host here - You can use the talking points on the Club44 Web site to help you develop your quote about why you support Hillary Clinton. Ann Lewis will also provide you some guidance on the post-debate conference call]"

Similar house parties were held at homes across the country. The house parties are part of the campaign's Club44 women's outreach program to make history by making Hillary our 44th president. Club44 has the dual goals of reaching women through their networks and raising money at low dollar amounts. The debate watch house parties are expected to take place in almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"I'm overwhelmed by the support from the women of Club44," said Hillary Clinton. "These house parties are an excellent way to ensure that the debate taking place in Nevada continues as a conversation in homes and communities all over the country."

Hillary joined the house parties via conference call just after the debate. House party hosts are rewarded with a Club44 "signature series" t-shirt for raising low-dollar contributions and signing up new supporters.

The Clinton campaign launched Club44 in June with a huge rally of 8,000 people in Washington, D.C. To find out more about Club44 and Women for Hillary, go to www.hillaryclinton.com/women for more information.