February 10th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton shuffles campaign team

Patti Solis Doyle will now serve as senior adviser.
Patti Solis Doyle will now serve as senior adviser.

(CNN) - Former Hillary Clinton chief of staff Maggie Williams will take over as campaign manager, Clinton staffers were told today. Current campaign manager and longtime friend Patti Solis Doyle will assume the role of senior adviser.

The switch has been rumored for more than a month – ever since Election Day in New Hampshire, when it was revealed that Williams would be joining the campaign in the wake of Clinton’s loss in the Iowa caucuses. At the time, Solis Doyle was urged to remain on board.

"I have been proud to manage this campaign, and prouder still to call Hillary my friend for more than sixteen years. I know that she will make a great president," Solis Doyle said in an e-mail to campaign staffers.

She added that the "the longest presidential campaign in the history of our nation" had "required enormous sacrifices from all of us and our families."

"...Maggie [Williams] is a remarkable person and I am confident that she will do a fabulous job."

A source close to Hillary Clinton tells CNN that Solis Doyle’s job had been at risk since Clinton's Iowa loss. Clinton's poor performance there coincided with the realization that the campaign had been running out of money – a fact which had not been related to the New York senator until then.

Still, Clinton stuck with Solis Doyle out of loyalty, says this source.

"There was a lot of dissatisfaction with the ground operation. There was nobody in charge,” another source tells CNN, adding that Solis Doyle was starting to lose the respect of some senior advisers, who fretted that campaign's message from state to state was not clear.

Doyle was "notorious for not returning phone calls which was starting to upset superdelegates and surrogates," and the endorsement process became "messy," says a source.

The New Hampshire win postponed the decision, but Solis Doyle failed to capitalize on the additional time. Maggie Williams began to take on many of the duties of campaign manager, and the lines of authority blurred.

The senior team was going to Williams for guidance, while the junior team was reporting to Doyle.

Insiders describe Doyle and Williams as close friends of Hillary Clinton. One said that "there didn't need to be a dual layer hostile environment - they just needed to sort it out."

Some in the campaign put a positive spin on the situation, saying that the move was anti-climactic – since Williams had effectively been in control for weeks – and would provide much-needed clarification. Clinton made the decision herself, said several sources, adding that there are not likely to be any hard feelings.

This week, Maggie Williams said she could not work with Solis Doyle, the source adds. It is unclear who, if anyone, might exit next: some in the campaign have said they would leave if Solis Doyle did.

In a statement released by her campaign Hillary Clinton said "I look forward to [Solis Doyle's] continued advice in the months ahead.

"Patti and I have worked with Maggie Williams for more than a decade. I am lucky to have Maggie on board and I know she will lead our campaign with great skill towards the nomination."Williams served as Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff during Bill Clinton’s first term.

(updated 6:20 p.m. ET with additional reporting)

–CNN's Jessica Yellin, Suzanne Malveaux and Sasha Johnson


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. krmiller , Iowa

    Its not the staff, honey......its the candidate that needs replacing.

    February 10, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. KP

    Barack and Hillary are both strong candidates. As a democratic voter, I would be thrilled to have either of them to vote for in the general election. However, I can't help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Hillary. Although I will gladly vote for Barack, I have to admit that as a woman, I am already starting mourn the idea of 2008 being the year that we elect the first woman president.

    February 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Sonny

    If it were Hillary RODHAM running she wouldn't be so viable. A change in campaign staff may help. Barack Obama is doing a tremendous job given his resources. Unfortunately, Hillary already peaked last October 2007 while Barack continues to rise...

    February 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Marco

    Hillary Clinton is behind in the number of pledged delegates, behind in votes and behind in states won. Also, her fundraising is lagging Obama's big time. You know a campaign is in trouble when the candidate has to lend their campaign 5 million of their own money and has to replace it's campaign manager.
    Poll after poll also shows Obama is much better placed to beat John McCain in the general election. Time to pick a winner. Someone who can unite the Democratic party AND reach out to independents and republicans who are ready for change after 8 years of George Bush. If democrats want to win the white house in 2008, this is their opportunity. Obama can lead the democratic party to victory. Or do you prefer another four years of the same policies?

    February 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. michael, grand prairie tx.

    Hmmmmmmmmmm

    February 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. stirlingmclaughlin

    Wow. Her campaign is in worse shape then I thought.

    February 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. yk

    The Clinton Machine seems to need repair after
    the beat down she got from the obama camp

    February 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Shannon

    The end of the begining. She never had a chance to get it going. With former president Clinton out there rambling on and race baiting, with the mismanagement of campaign funds, and now with the apparent miscalculations of campaign strategy, Senator Clinton doesn't seem very presidential. The thrill is gone.

    February 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Cinton? Nooooooo!!!!!!!

    Clinton, just give it up. Your campaign looks weaker by the day.

    February 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Frank

    Well, no changes in the Obama camp ... I guess he picked the right people from the start. You'd think that Billary with all her 'experience' would do better than that.

    Frank

    February 10, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. TBW

    Maybe, Hillary, you're the problem. Not your campaign manager. But go ahead, re-arrange the deck seats on the Titanic.

    February 10, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. Jeff an Independent

    signs of desperation. sure couldn't be the candiate, right?

    February 10, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. PB in Rhody

    Just another sign of her inability to lead.

    February 10, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. s.positive

    How can you run a country like USA effectively if you cannot run a good campaign?

    February 10, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Matt

    It won't help.

    February 10, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Chris

    Again more political tricks from the Clintons. A minor shuffle to satisfy their major contributors while deflecting blame for a failing campaign from themselves. No change of message will occur. No change of tactics. Just a minor change of who sits where in the boardroom.

    Once again all smoke and mirrors from Bonnie and Clyde.

    February 10, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Andy, New York, New York

    Hillary Clinton is shuffling the chairs on the deck of her sinking Titanic campaign that has hit, not a Little Rock, but a big BaROCK!

    Hillary counted on the BIG STAES with HUGE DELEGATES, but even though she WON THOSE STATES, she almost split the delegates. So where is her big win?

    February 10, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    It will make no difference.

    February 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. A2MANI

    ..whatever you do Hillary, It WONT work! I wonder if you will concede after Maine..

    ..OBAMA '08

    ..OBAMA '08

    February 10, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. leroy

    obama's got hillary scared!!!

    February 10, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. pupnannie

    Give me a break...how many candidates in each campaign change some of their people. Why is it bad for Hillary to do it. John McCain did it and no one thought it was awful....If Hillary was given credit during this campaign she would be so far ahead of obama that he woudn't be able to see her tail lights. The media has made him a star but sometimes you see a falling star and that will happen with him too.

    February 10, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. Sara

    HILLARY will take TEXAS just as she took California......the BIG states is what she needs and what she will get...She has the experience...GO HILLARY GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 11, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  23. Johnny D

    Wow, her former campaign manager is gorgeous. I'm just saying.

    February 11, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  24. Sims

    Bill should have been in the background as the campaign manger and treasurer. Hillery would have gotten more bang for the buck.

    February 11, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  25. Barb in TN

    I wish Hillary had not felt she had to be so loyal to her old friend that she kept her this long as a campaign manager. I think it says a lot for Hillary's character that she would do so. Why is it that everything Hillary Clinton does people put a negative spin on it but Obama can do no wrong? Even the media bash Hillary and play Obama up. I am so sick of hearing GO OBAMA like it's some high school pep rally. We are talking about all our futures and it shouldn't be based on a popularity contest! If Obama wins the nomination I will vote for the Republicans, at least they will know what they are doing.

    February 11, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
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