Political campaigns can’t plan for every line of attack from their opponents. They try to have their talking points in order, they try to anticipate objections and be three steps ahead. But they can’t control everything.
I don’t think the Clinton campaign foresaw WikiLeaks releasing a bunch of their emails. But when it did happen, you know that they scrambled to come up with explanations and ways to divert attention away from the emails. In fact, their main rebuttal is to point to the Russians and how they supposedly “stole” emails from the Clinton campaign and released them to stir up trouble.
There’s far too much revealed in the emails for the campaign to be able to go through and come up with excuses for it all. So, the easiest and probably best thing they can do is change the subject, hopefully without anyone really noticing it.
Hillary Clinton tried this in the debate when she was questioned about the pay-to-play schemes exposed by WikiLeaks emails. She responded that everything she did as Secretary of State was in the interests of the country – she says that every time. Then, she went on to explain how great the Clinton Foundation is how much good it’s doing around the world – also something that she talks about every time.
But Chris Wallace is seasoned enough as a reporter that he knows when politicians are trying to skirt the issue.
He confronted Hillary’s campaign manager Robby Mook specifically about the Democratic nominee’s $12 million deal with the King of Morocco. Asked whether that was an example of pay-to-play, Mook dissembled and predictably brought up how these documents were “stolen” by the Russians for the purpose of wreaking havoc in the election process.
Just like the Hillary Clinton campaign likely didn’t foresee the WikiLeaks email dumps, they probably didn’t foresee Trump’s tax returns being leaked either.
They were quick to hop on those and use them against Trump. In fact, most of the media followed suit.
So, Chris Wallace wanted to know the distinction between Trump’s stolen tax returns that were leaked, and the Clinton campaign’s “stolen” emails that were leaked. Why was it okay for them to use Trump’s stolen tax documents, but it’s not okay for anyone else to use the Clinton campaign’s supposedly stolen emails? What’s the difference?
I don’t think they were prepared for that one. Mook stammered, claiming that no one really knows where Trump’s tax returns came from. No one knows whether they were stolen or not. Wallace asked Mook if he thought Trump himself leaked his returns to the New York Times.
“I don’t know,” Mook responded. “I don’t know how they got to the New York Times.” How else does he think the Times got a hold of them?
When in doubt, change the subject and stick to talking points. Mook quickly resorted again to the Russian connection:
“Well, I think what’s particularly disturbing in this situation is that the intelligence community has now confirmed that John Podesta’s e-mails and the DNC e-mails were stolen by the Russians.”
But Wallace wasn’t going to let him get away with it.
“I know about the Russian connection,” Wallace said. “I’m talking about the $12 million from the King of Morocco and the fact that this continues to sort of show the line between private and public, and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.”
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