- REUTERS/Brian C. Frank
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is going to try and show a new, softer side of its candidate, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Among other things, Clinton strategists said that the Democratic front-runner would try to demonstrate more authenticity and humor on the campaign trail.
“In extensive interviews by telephone and at their Brooklyn headquarters last week, Mrs. Clinton’s strategists acknowledged missteps,” The Times’ Amy Chozick wrote. “[They] promised that this fall the public would see the sides of Mrs. Clinton that are often obscured by the noise and distractions of modern campaigning,”
Clinton is emerging from a difficult summer in which her campaign was battered by questions over how and why she exclusively used a personal email server while at the State Department.
Critics claim Clinton broke protocol and mishandled classified information on an insecure server in a quest to avoid government disclosure requirements.
For her part, Clinton said her seemingly unorthodox email use was a mistake but insists that it was allowed by State Department rules at the time. She also points out that some of her predecessors used personal email accounts while on the job.
Regardless, the controversy has appeared to exact a toll on Clinton’s bid for the Democratic nomination. Her favorability numbers have repeatedly declined as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), running as as Democrat, has continued to rise. And the spotlight has turned to Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a campaign, to see if he will leap into the fray and further challenge Clinton.
One particularly damning poll last month asked respondents – Democrats and Republicans – to give one word to sum up several leading presidential campaigns. For Clinton, the top results were “liar,” “dishonest,” and “untrustworthy.”
Clinton is taking several steps to try and address this problem. According to The Times, Clinton booked upcoming appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon. And she will try and poke fun at herself to show a less serious side of the often-cautious candidate.
“They want to show her humor. The self-effacing kind (‘The hair is real, the color isn’t,’ she said of her blond bob recently, taking note of [Donald] Trump) has played better than her sarcastic retorts, such as when she asked if wiping a computer server was done ‘with a cloth,'” Chozick wrote. “They want to show her heart, like the time she comforted former drug addicts in a school meeting room in New Hampshire.”
Her campaign also wants Clinton, who rarely mentions her primary opponents, to more aggressively batter the Republican field.
It remains to be seen, however, how much Clinton can turn around the public’s opinion of her. The former first lady, US senator, secretary of state, and 2008 presidential candidate has long been in the public eye – and many voters long ago made up their minds about her.
“Whether the blueprint her strategists are preparing will be enough to overcome Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses is an open question,” Chozick wrote. “Some pollsters have pointed to a likability problem with the former first lady, and, in presidential contests, the more likable candidate typically wins.”