WikiLeaks released over 2,000 emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign from earlier this year that give Americans’ a view of the inner workings of a political campaign.
The emails show how careful, calculated, and meticulous the Hillary Clinton campaign staff was – and is – in covering the Democratic nominee’s tracks every step of the way; in tailoring her speeches; crafting jokes for her; and giving her word-for-word responses to scandals.
The most covered aspect of the recent leak were campaign emails in which some of Hillary’s handsomely paid speeches before Goldman Sachs and other large financial intuitions were flagged as being potentially problematic for her if they were ever publicized.
Ironically, in their attempt at being as careful as possible in staying ahead of scandals – such as her many paid Wall Street speeches – they exposed the Democratic nominee as yet another grandstanding politician, admitting to be out of touch with the middle class, saying that politicians need to have “private” policy positions as well as “public” policy positions, admitting to holding Wall Street accountable publicly but only for political reasons, and much more.
Here are some emails flagged as potentially damaging by Tony Carrk, the research director of Hillary’s campaign.
“Attached are the flags from HRC’s paid speeches we have from HWA. I put some highlights below. There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with Policy,” Carrk wrote in an email to campaign staff. This excerpt carried the heading “Clinton Admits She is Out of Touch.”
“My father loved to complain about big business and big government, but we had a solid middle class upbringing. We had good public schools. We had accessible health care. We had our little, you know, one-family house that, you know, he saved up his money, didn’t believe in mortgages. So I lived that. And now, obviously, I’m kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”
In another flagged speech excerpt, Hillary made mention of the importance of having “both a public and a private position”:
“I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”
In another excerpt of a speech labeled by the campaign research director as “Clinton Talks About Holding Wall Street Accountable Only for Political Reasons,” Clinton said that this was the reason she started traveling in 2009:
“…so people could, you know, literally yell at me for the United States and our banking system causing this everywhere. Now, that’s an oversimplification we know, but it was the conventional wisdom. And I think that there’s a lot that could have been avoided in terms of both misunderstanding and really politicizing what happened with greater transparency, with greater openness on all sides, you know, what happened, how did it happen, how do we prevent it from happening?”
Now we know why Clinton was so hesitant in releasing her speech transcripts. Her campaign was probably finding a way to permanently delete the “problematic” excerpts, at which point she could release them without any political repercussions. But now it’s too late.
Politico reported on eight other aspects that were revealed by the WikiLeaks emails. Here’s one revelation regarding the campaign rushing to come up with a response to Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash about Clinton Foundation corruption:
Clinton’s team scrambled in the spring of 2015 to reaction to allegations made about the Clinton Foundation in “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”
Emails show an elaborate response plan, even debuting a rapid-response website for grassroots supporters to get talking points.
“The biggest question for this group is if and how HRC engages on Clinton Cash this week and what are the ‘two lines’ she would deliver,” Jake Sullivan wrote on May 3 to 10 top aides, including Jennifer Palmieri, Robby Mook, Mandy Grunwald, Joel Benenson and Jim Margolis. Benenson responded with a few lines for Clinton to say about the foundation’s “life-saving work around the world.”
“The notion that that anyone donating to the foundation was going to influence me in my job is absurd,” Benenson suggested Clinton say, to which Margolis suggested, adding “and never happened.”
Of the rapid-response website, Sullivan wrote, “John [Podesta, Clinton campaign chairman] and I discussed yesterday and think it is important that supporters and press know that we will deal aggressively with unfair attacks, but our real focus and hers is her proactive vision. Important that we do not appear beleaguered.”
In April, the team looked for ways to have reporters thoroughly debunk “Clinton Cash” before its release. “Amy Chozick from the NYT called us to indicate she had obtained a copy of the book on her own and intends to file a separate story tomorrow. Her story will not unpack all of the book’s claims … she will do a more process-y story about the book’s existence, the fact that the publisher has approached multiple media outlets in advance of the book’s publication to spoon-feed them some of the book’s research,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon wrote to other Clinton advisers.
He added, “We think this story, though it was not originated by us, could end up being somewhat helpful in casting the book’s author as having a conservative agenda.”
When the author, Peter Schweitzer, stumbled through an awkward interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos — himself a Clinton Foundation donor — the comms team took a victory lap as they sent around the transcript.
“[G]reat work everyone. this interview is perfect. he lands nothing and everything is refuted (mostly based on our work),” wrote spokesman Jesse Ferguson.
“This is therapeutic to watch. George is cool as a cucumber, doesn’t rush into it, but just destroys him slowly but surely over the course of the interview,” chimes in Nick Merrill.
As for the Clinton campaign’s response to all this, they’re sticking with “neither confirming nor denying” anything. And blaming Russia.
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