Hillary Clinton’s team of spinmeisters had a difficult day Sunday. Perhaps, nobody had it worse than Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook. This exchange with Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson wasn’t a shining example of Team Clinton’s communication team:
DICKERSON: Here’s the question that — when I talk to Democratic strategist, people even are anxious for her to be president. They say she can list a lot of things. The biggest problem for her is trust. The voters in the polls have shown this. Voters do not trust her. How does she overcome that?
MOOK: Well, first of all, there — no poll shows that voters don’t trust Hillary Clinton.
DICKERSON: They don’t find her honest and trustworthy.
MOOK: Well, no poll says that.
But, first of all, the central question in this race is whether voters can trust Hillary Clinton to be a tenacious fighter for them, to go to bat for them, to push back on the stacked deck that has kept the middle class behind. And the answer to that is overwhelmingly yes. Anyone who watched her speech yesterday was abundantly clear, Hillary Clinton will be tenacious fighter for everyday Americans. That’s the question in this election. And voters can trust her to be that fighter. As she said, people call her a lot of things, but they don’t call her a quitter. And right now, the middle class needs someone who will not quit and will keep fighting for them every single day.
That isn’t professional spin. That’s barely amateur spin.This article from late March disproves Mook’s spin. This poll from late May renders the same verdict. Thus far, the verdict on Hillary’s paid campaign workers isn’t a positive verdict. It isn’t that Bill Clinton’s staff weren’t spinners. It’s that Hillary’s spinners are amateurs.
The other point worth making is that people like Mook have the unenviable task of peddling the things that Hillary is peddling. That isn’t an easy job. It’s worthy of hazard pay. It isn’t easy to go on national television and tell the host that my candidate is honest and trustworthy when 2 polls from the week before asked whether Hillary was honest and trustworthy and both groups said that Hillary wasn’t honest and trustworthy.
Mook isn’t the only Clinton spinmeister that wasn’t ready for prime time. Karen Finney had a tough time handling Chris Wallace’s questions on Fox News Sunday, too. Though it’s early in the cycle, this is a telling moment. One of the things that candidates are judged on is the campaign staff that they hire. It’s a way for pundits and reporters to determine if they’re up to the job of picking great cabinet members.
That’s an important part of putting together a competent administration.
At this point, pundits have the right of questioning Hillary’s ability of hiring a competent cabinet. That isn’t tragic by itself but it raises a red flag worthy of closer scrutiny. Th sooner a candidate puts those things to rest, the sooner they establish administrative credibility.