Concerned about her “email fiasco” or the threat of “new Benghazis,” some of Hillary Clinton’s top Southeastern fundraisers fretted at times in a Wednesday conference call with her campaign, which insisted it had recently “defanged a lot of the criticism” of the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
The call, led by Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon and listened to by a POLITICO reporter, provided what sounded like a frank look at the campaign’s strengths and weaknesses — from Clinton’s slipping early state poll numbers to her sometimes-plodding crisis response.
In addition to bracing for more fallout over Clinton’s emails, the campaign will establish a “war room” to respond to next month’s congressional Benghazi hearings, Fallon said. He said a team will also be ready to push back against the pending release of a book by on-again-off-again Donald Trump consultant Roger Stone entitledThe Clintons’ War on Women.
Fiasco, new Benghazis, war room. Sure does seem like a campaign in complete disarray now that they’re being crushed by a septuagenarian socialist in recent polls.
But the emails Clinton mishandled as secretary of state are a more complicated and “unique animal,” Fallon said, because their monthly release by the Department of State is out of the campaign’s hands — as are “the reviews that the FBI’s doing.”
“I’ll be very clear — that issue is going to be with us for the next several months, if only because the emails themselves are on a schedule where they get released every 30 days,” Fallon acknowledged. “And that will be true until the end of the year. Unfortunately, we can’t control that.”
But they flail about wildly, one day cracking lame jokes about her felonious behavior, the next day pretending to cry and make as if she’s sorry about her mess. It’s not working.
Fort Lauderdale lawyer Mitchell Berger, who’s hosting an Oct. 2 fundraiser for Clinton at his home, said there’s “a fine line between apology and looking weak.”
Stressing that he was “not trying to be critical,” Berger said he appreciated the briefing, but he wondered aloud: “Is there a lesson learned? Because there will be five or six more of these between now and then. … There’s no question in my mind that between now and next November there will be new Benghazis and new emails.”
He said he hoped the lessons learned “are calculated into the next email fiasco.”
Fallon said he agreed with Berger’s observations.
“We know that more stuff is coming, we know that in the next few weeks, there’s another anti-Clinton book coming out written by Roger Stone,” Fallon said. “When this Roger Stone book comes out — we’ll obtain the book. Our research team will be able to go through it … and with the Benghazi hearing, there will be a great amount of prep work that goes into that. There will be a war room set up to deal with that to deal with that.”
In the meantime, as it all unravels, Grandma tweets incoherently in Spanish. It’s all over, but nobody dares tell her yet.