William Douglas of McClatchy tells us.
As Clinton fell short of the presidential nomination, a number of campaign staffers and confidants close to the New York senator offered a postmortem on a campaign that started with $133 million war chest but ended millions in the red, that won the big state primaries but scoffed at delegate-rich caucus contests, that didn’t have a Plan B after the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests failed to secure her nomination, that misread a country’s mood and underestimated her young, upstart rival and his message of change.
Specifically on the caucuses (my emphasis):
The switch in managers, however, was unable to overcome what some Clinton staffers called perhaps the campaign’s most egregious blunder: dismissing the caucus states.
The Clinton camp thought that caucuses were attended by an elite few Democrats who didn’t reflect the will of regular voters. Obama, on the other hand, had a caucus strategy that helped him rack up delegates.
“They kept pooh-poohing them, Ickes and (Clinton campaign chairman Terry) McAuliffe,” the campaign insider said. ” ‘Caucus states don’t represent the people.’ Hell, they had delegates, didn’t they?”
The most damaging caucus state was Iowa, the insider said, because Obama’s victory in a predominantly white state convinced African-American voters who were still deciding between Obama and Clinton that he could win the nomination.