Bill Clinton is some kind of backroom operative for the Democrats, it seems, following the overnight revelation that he asked Democratic Florida senatorial candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out and support independent Charlie Crist. Why didn't Meek listen?

Clinton had been down to Florida to speak at a rally for Meek, who's in a distant third behind Republican Marco Rubio and then Crist. This seemed like an odd thing for Bill Clinton to do, now that we can look back in perfectly clear retrospect. Because Bill Clinton doesn't show up to campaign for any old dinky candidate in third place who's more or less guaranteed to lose. He was on a secret political mission! And it almost worked:

Bill Clinton sought to persuade Rep. Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race for Senate during a trip to Florida last week - and nearly succeeded.

Meek agreed - twice - to drop out and endorse Gov. Charlie Crist's independent bid in a last-ditch effort to stop Marco Rubio, the Republican nominee who stands on the cusp of national stardom. [...]

Last weekend, however, Meek changed his mind.

"Not being seen as a quitter was more important than stopping someone who was so opposed to what you and your party had stood for," said one Democrat who had been hoping to close the deal.

Politico, which broke the story, offers plenty of vivid minute-by-minute drama about how Meek agreed and then just walked out. So what must Bill Clinton have done after his persuasive powers failed? It sounds like he got on the phone with Politico.

[Image via AP]