Clinton gets back in the game after summer slump

Campaign 2016
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 10/07/15, 02:43 pm

The staff of The World and Everything in It has profiled 22 possible 2016 presidential candidates in its “White House Wednesday” series. Now they take a look at who’s ahead and who’s making moves as the primaries get closer.

Hillary Clinton was a captive and unwilling passenger through the summer news cycle, driven by numerous controversies. But after months of lying low, she’s now looking to make headlines, not duck them.

At recent campaign events, Clinton shored up her environmental bona fides by coming out against the Keystone XL oil pipeline expansion. She’s returning to the social-issues war by jumping in the foxhole with Planned Parenthood. And on Monday, Clinton weighed in on gun control in Manchester, N.H. She called for universal background checks and closing so-called loopholes in existing requirements. If elected, she said, she’d make it easier to sue gun makers.

“We also must address the very serious problem of military-style weapons on our streets,” she said, suggesting she would use executive powers to achieve her gun control objectives if Congress wouldn’t go along. 

Clinton has also been busy polishing her tarnished public image as a dishonest and unlikable public figure. On Saturday Night Live last weekend, she played a bartender consoling a fictional version of herself, played by Kate McKinnon. The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon described the appearance this way: “Live from New York … It’s a Hillary Clinton campaign ad.”

Clinton also has a new TV ad that unwraps a political gift from Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Last week, he made an offhand comment about the political toll GOP-led investigations have taken on Clinton.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. What are her numbers today?” McCarthy said. He spent the past week trying to walk back that remark, but the Clinton campaign made it the centerpiece of a new commercial that began airing nationwide Tuesday. The ad portrays Clinton as a victim of Republican attacks.

Listen to “White House Wednesday” on The World and Everything in It.

The frugal Floridian

The campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is getting a reputation for a somewhat unorthodox strategy—it’s frugal to the point of being downright cheap.At a campaign manager’s forum last month in Washington, D.C., Rubio’s top staffer, Terry Sullivan, talked about running a lean campaign.

“People don’t stop running for president because they run out of ideas or they run out of desire to give speeches. They stop running because they run out of money,” Sullivan said. He has to approve every campaign expense greater than $500, which has resulted in fewer unnecessary expenditures. 

“No one ever won or lost the presidency because they had a table at the, you know, Manchester Fair,” Sullivan said. The campaign hands out a very small amount of yard signs and bumper stickers, and Rubio flies coach on commercial airlines 95 percent of the time.

“When you look at winning campaigns and losing campaigns, it’s all about how much money they’ve gotten into the direct voter contact. It’s not about how many staff they have or anything else,” Sullivan explained.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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