Friday, October 21, 2016

Crafting a Political Response - The Hillary Clinton Way

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is definitely a man who rarely speaks from a script, a habit that has landed him in hot water repeatedly during the 2016 election cycle.  Unlike Donald Trump, a March 2015 email from John Podesta's computer shows what kind of effort goes into a  crafting a very short mainstream media comment by Hillary Clinton.

The email chain began on Friday March 20, 2015 at 12:52 and was sent to Nick Merrill, Hillary Clinton's press secretary by CNN investigative correspondent Chris Frates:

The email was regarding the long-running private server that Hillary Clinton used while Secretary of State and, more specifically, Congressman Trey Gowdy's request to David Kendall, the Clinton family's personal lawyer, to hand over her email server to the State Department.

Two minutes later, Chris Frates emailed Nick Merrill once again, informing him that he was cc'ing David Kendall on the matter as well.

At 12:56 pm, Nick Merrill cc'd the email to the "who's who" of the key players in the Clinton 2016 election campaign camp including:

John Podesta - Campaign Chair - 2016 Clinton Campaign
Huma Abedin - Campaign Vice Chair - 2016 Clinton Campaign
Cheryl Mills - Lawyer and former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton
Philippe Reines - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Secretary Clinton
Jake Sullivan - Foreign Policy Advisor - 2016 Clinton Campaign
David Kendall - Clinton family personal lawyer
Kristina Schake - Deputy Communications Director
Heather Samuelson - Lawyer and Clinton Campaign Staffer
Jennifer Palmieri - Director of Communications

It's interesting to note that Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were granted immunity by the Justice Department for their involvement in the Hillary Clinton email scandal.  

At 1:44 pm, Nick Merrill sent this to the above group:

Note that Hillary Clinton's press secretary felt that it would be inadvisable to respond with a "no comment" on this story.

At 2:25 pm, Cheryl Mills (CDM), Ms. Clinton's lawyer sent this:

At 2:32 pm, Philippe Reines sent this:

Then, the fun and games start.  Here is a suggestion of the talking points that the Clinton campaign should use when talking to the press about the email scandal as suggested by Nick Merrill at 4:16 pm:

Note that there is an "on the record" and "off the record" response.  David Kendall, the Clinton's personal lawyer approved of the carefully crafted response at 4:23 pm, however, that was not the end of things.  At 6:46 pm, Nick Merrill jumped into the fray with this final comment and suggestion:

And, that's the end of this email chain.

It's not the content of this particular email chain that is interesting, rather, it's the process that the Clinton camp uses to disseminate information to the voting public.  While all politicians go through this process, it's interesting to compare how carefully crafted her camp's responses are and how groupthink is used to ensure that the public knows as little as possible.  We should all be aware that when the mainstream media uses politician's talking points to provide us with "news", many iterations of the same talking points have been processed behind the scenes before they are regurgitated to the public.

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