While many Democrats believe Hillary Clinton’s benign explanations about her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State, it’s clear that many do not. And with every press conference she holds or off-handed joke she makes on the matter, things seem to get murkier.
Yesterday, Clinton told the press that she didn’t know if her server had been “wiped clean,” and then asked sarcastically, “What, like with a cloth or something?” When one listens to the substance of her answers, they make sense. But her answers on this legally nuanced issue often feel incomplete, and clunky, and her manner can be testy if not downright hostile. Mrs. Clinton, for all her articulate powers, is at her worst when defending herself.
So if the Democratic frontrunner hopes to climb out of this hole she keeps digger underneath her, she needs strong, articulate and convincing surrogates to help make her case. And no one can explain away problems better than her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Labeled the “Explainer-in-Chief” after his impassioned defense of the Obama administration in his 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, Bill Clinton is a master of putting issues like Obamacare and the economy in terms that everyday Joes can understand.
True, Bill made some flubs while trying to help Hillary’s 2008 campaign. But he’s older and wiser now, and with a little coaching on what not to say, he could be employed to the talk shows on an all-out blitz. Hillary needs the “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” on Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, Charlie Rose, and even Jimmy Fallon, fielding the tough questions about the server and explaining the facts in the off-handed, light-hearted way that only Bill can deliver.
The points he needs to make:
- Regardless of the misinformation blitzing fed by her opponents, Hillary broke no laws and there were no federal regulations against having a home server at the time she had one.
- Hillary’s email habits were no different those two bastions of GOP respect, Colin Powell and Jeb Bush.
- It’s obvious Hillary isn’t lying about her emails. How do we know? Because she is going to testify in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi in October, when she’ll invariably be asked about her emails as they relate to the embassy attack. As only Bill could quip, “And she is too smart to perjure herself…unlike some people we know. As I’ve always said, she’s a lot smarter than I am.”
Then the Clinton campaign should follow up with other smart and respected Democratic mouthpieces like Ed Rendell, Jennifer Granholm and Al Gore. Maybe even Gen. Powell himself would take to the airwaves to speak up for his brethren secretary.
But the key is Bill. If anyone can turn lemons into lemonade, he can. And once the Secretary of Explaining Stuff starts making the case and clearing the air, the former Secretary of State can go back to running for president.