Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton Hits the Interview Circuit with an Eye on the Empire State

Hillary Clinton is taking nothing for granted in the run-up to the delegate-dense New York primary mid-month.  Home in Chappaqua, she is assessing her bearings in the candidate pool and sharpening some of the tools in her tote bag.


Among these, her longtime Democratic Party affiliation, her knowledge of how things work, and her experience both in campaigns and in government.

I will say this: If Hillary Clinton's patience is wearing thin with Senator Sanders and his uncurbed surrogates attacking her and her record, she nonetheless has exhibited the patience of a saint.  All of the rest of us lost it with him long ago. Hillary has maintained an admirable, disciplined reserve on that and other topics.

On Friday, in Syracuse, she sat down with Politico's Glenn Thrush.

Hillary Clinton has had enough of Bernie Sanders

In an exclusive interview for POLITICO's 'Off Message' podcast, the former secretary of state compares Donald Trump to foreign demagogues and says she's not even sure her primary opponent is a Democrat.
POLITICO's Glenn Thrush speaks with Hillary Clinton in an exclusive interview. | Bridget Mulcahy/POLITICO
Sanders had just told an interviewer that he was iffy about raising money for down-ballot Democrats, so I asked Clinton the obvious question: Did she think Sanders is a real Democrat?
“Well, I can’t answer that,” she said with a smile. Then she proceeded to answer the question. “He’s a relatively new Democrat, and, in fact, I’m not even sure he is one. He’s running as one. So I don’t know quite how to characterize him.”
... it is Sanders who poses the most immediate threat. He was was running hard — and hitting her hard — in New York, and she was clearly frustrated with his easy appeal to voters under 35. She even suggested for the first time (in public, anyway) that the septuagenarian from Vermont was feeding a simplistic, cynical line of argument to turn young voters against her.
“There is a persistent, organized effort to misrepresent my record, and I don’t appreciate that, and I feel sorry for a lot of the young people who are fed this list of misrepresentations,” Clinton said, a few minutes after talking herself hoarse at a rally here. “I know that Senator Sanders spends a lot of time attacking my husband, attacking President Obama. I rarely hear him say anything negative about George W. Bush, who I think wrecked our economy.”
Since that interview on Friday, the bombshell of THE INTERVIEW with the New York Daily News has hit the stands.  Naturally, going forward, Hillary's take on what that has uncovered is the question of the day, and it did come up as she entered that den of vipers known as Morning Joe today. Questions and responses are in the banners at the bottom of the pics.

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Mika asked that stupid (surprise, surprise) question so many interviewers ask: Why hasn't she attracted young women? What a waste of airtime! First of all, she does have a large and loyal contingent of youth supporters of all gender identifications. If Hillary had the solution to the Bernie Brew the others are imbibing, there would be no such issue. As Jesse Jackson Sr. famously repeated on an SNL appearance: The question is moot!


Hillary did hit on a reason a lot of Boomers can identify with. When you are young, it is exciting to be part of a movement and protest.

Many of us lined up for the colorless, dry, professorial Eugene McCarthy, a single-issue candidate, and we did so on that single issue: ending the war in Viet Nam. I, myself, peeled off the minute Bobby Kennedy made his St. Patrick's Day entrance into the arena with a deeper and broader social justice agenda, including ending the war.

So, yeah, I get that.  Tina Brown echoed the same sentiment later on CNN.

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Hillary is most circumspect, however, on the issue of whether Senator Sanders should suspend his campaign saying she is the last person who would suggest that. For the information of Joe Johns at CNN, this is not a "mixed signal."

Hillary is not asking Sen. Sanders to drop out.  She is asking him to stop misrepresenting her record and to study harder, do his homework, and answer, credibly, the test questions about how he will accomplish what he promises.

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As she told Glenn Thrush, that is a question for Bernie Sanders and the voters, not for her.

Speaking with Chris Cuomo on CNN, early this afternoon, Hillary said  she is not sure Sanders understands how Dodd-Frank works and said her plan is broader and deeper.  She was surprised by the lack of substance in the NYDN interview.

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How much more substance does he need?


Her reaction to Jeff Weaver's accusation that she would destroy the Democratic Party with her ambition to be POTUS was similar. Hillary called it ludicrous and pointed to her record of supporting Dems, raising funds for Dems, and recruiting Dems to run for 40 years.  Bernie was never a Democrat until he decided to run for president.


"The presidents who are successful know what they want to do and how to do it.  They hit the ground running."


Visiting the Sanders stance on gun laws, she pointed out that this is the only unaccountable industry.  She quoted Chris Murphy (D-CT) who said Sanders wants higher regulations on toy guns than real guns.


Hillary often quotes "the greatest Democratic president we never had," Mario Cuomo (Chris's late dad), who said, "You campaign in poetry and govern in prose."  What should not be lost in all the "poetry" and rhetoric of the campaign is the fact that there is an element of government within a campaign.  It is the candidate who sets the tone, crafts the message, and runs the ship.  If it goes off course, the buck stops at the candidate.

The tone set by Sanders and his reluctance to regulate the messaging by his surrogates and supporters testifies to a laissez-faire style of management.  Whether he agrees with what they say and do or not, he owns that even when he denies it. For someone who wants to regulate big banks, he exhibits an astounding aversion to regulating his team. How he is running  - governing - his campaign says something about his management style.  That would translate to the White House.

Hillary Clinton has shown immense restraint in the face of a good deal of bombast from the Sanders side. The messaging she has sent out has implied that we respect that posture and adopt the same restraint.  Many of us have. It has been hard!

If Hillary has removed her cocktail gloves and is drumming her fingers on the champagne flute (sorry, I just picture her in the most elegant of settings), that is a signal that we too can open another theater of engagement.  I would remind my fellow Hillary supporters, however, that this should follow Hillary's lead and remain civil, articulate, and issue-based. She has set the tone.

Bernie's words are fair game. Using slurs and obscenities and name-calling have never been Hillary's style and should not be ours. Hillary emphasized this message with Chris Cuomo.  That said, let's take him on with his issues and defend Hillary against the ordinance coming her way.  Speaking with Cuomo she urged us forward.


With a dazzling smile!

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phone calls