Hillary Clinton’s Rivals Critical of Democratic Party Politics

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

At Democratic Party meeting, Joe Biden’s the elephant not in the room.

As Hillary Clinton’s campaign seeks to project dominance in a field that could soon include Vice President Joe Biden, her top advisers are touting a decisive edge on a little-discussed metric: superdelegate commitments. After blowing out all expectations, including his own, by moving to a decisive second place in the polls for the Democratic nomination and attracting huge crowds, Sanders now needs to convince Democrats he can be more than a protest candidate and actually win.JOHN KASICH’S AERIAL ATTACK: POLITICO’s Steve Shepard reports: When New Hampshire fans of the NFL’s New England Patriots tune in to tonight’s preseason game will see quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick … and Ohio Gov.MINNEAPOLIS — Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to cement her standing as the rightful leader of the Democratic Party here Friday, but two of her challengers launched a fierce counterattack against her and a party establishment they see as trying to hand her the 2016 presidential nomination.Amid the controversy over her email system and speculation over Vice President Biden entering the race, Hillary Clinton is facing an intangible — but, analysts say, very real — political crisis: the enthusiasm gap.

At the Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis, where Clinton spoke on Friday, senior Clinton campaign officials are claiming that she has already secured one-fifth of the pledges needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. He knows it. “Look, at the end of the day, people will say to me, we like you, we agree with a lot of your ideas, but can you win?” he told msnbc during a press conference Friday. “The issue of electability – can we win this election?

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign found itself working aggressively to show off its strength to rivals both current and potential and quietly reassuring Democrats that she was capable of moving past the controversies that have dogged her campaign. “We are building something that will last long after next November,” Clinton said to party stalwarts Friday. “Other candidates may be fighting for a particular ideology, but I’m fighting for you and your families.” Although she cast herself as the next in line for the party’s nomination, the will-he-won’t-he speculation over Biden exposed lingering divisions and doubts about Clinton’s bid. The campaign says that Clinton currently has about 130 superdelegates publicly backing her, but a person familiar with recent conversations in Minneapolis said that officials are telling supporters and the undecided in the last few days that private commitments increase that number to more than 440—about 20 percent of the number of delegates she would need to secure the nomination. He received most attention for unwise comments about Indian Americans (“You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts [in Delaware] unless you have a slight Indian accent”) and Barack Obama (“articulate and bright and clean.”) But there is an argument that 2016 could be Biden’s year — a moment that will reward, even celebrate, his loose-lipped authenticity and his from-the-gut middle-class politics.

Speaking from the dais, with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz sitting a few feet away, O’Malley blasted the party’s limited number of sanctioned debates as a process “rigged” in favor of the front-runner. She promised to boost economic investment in rural areas, increase agricultural production, promote clean energy and enhance access to health care and education. “Iowans are in the future business,” Clinton told about 200 people in a hall at the Des Moines Area Community College. “Just look at the way you have seized opportunities from wind energy to biofuels.” Clinton pledges to invest in rural business and infrastructure by expanding tax credits and grants. New Day isn’t the first outside group to use Pats games on WMUR in a higher-priced effort to target New Hampshire voters: Americans for Prosperity aired a spot hitting Democratic Gov. Bernie Sanders is a rock star, as is gadfly Republican front-runner Donald Trump, both of whom are filling thousands of seats on the road — much like Barack Obama in the 2008 race. “I think you see a certain amount of exhaustion amongst Democrats and a certain amount of Clinton fatigue,” said Jeanne Zaino, political science professor at Iona College, who says the drip-drip of email revelations have “taken their toll” and it is reflecting in the crowd sizes as well as poll numbers. There were folks newly frustrated with Clinton’s handling of questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of State and talk of needing a Biden escape hatch if things did not improve.

Sure, there are stumbling blocks, even leaving aside the still-dominant position of Clinton and the daunting mechanical challenges of instantly assembling the necessary staff and money. And his campaign is only a few months old, he noted, suggesting that while many voters still don’t know who he is, his lack of name recognition also gives him plenty of room to grow. Donors who have publicly expressed support for a Biden run have later been contacted by the Clinton team, according to fundraisers and Democratic strategists who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private conversations. On Thursday at Case Western Reserve University in the battleground state of Ohio, Clinton spoke to a crowd of an estimated 2,800 people in an outdoor “commit to vote” rally, the first for her campaign outside the key primary/caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Clinton campaign aides at the DNC meeting are privately briefing uncommitted superdelegates there on their mounting totals as a way to coax them to get them aboard the Clinton train now. His career is one obstacle: At a time when the public is sour on politicians, Biden has been in elective office for 45 years, since being elected to Delaware’s New Castle County Council in 1970. To excite voters and get them to the polls, an establishment campaign won’t do, he said. “In other words, we need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment – not one which is part of it,” he said, evidently referring to frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Campaign manager Robby Mook, chief administrative officer Charlie Baker, political director Amanda Renteria, and state campaigns and political engagement director Marlon Marshall are among the top Clinton aides in attendance. One person’s career politician is another’s devoted public servant: Biden has never spun through the revolving door to vacuum up six-figure speaking fees. Clinton said that Trump is getting most of the media attention this summer but that the other Republican candidates are making statements that ought to scare mainstream voters. “They’re Trump without the pizazz and the hair,” she said. It would be gut-wrenching.” While Biden deliberates, Clinton’s campaign is locking down resources, talent and support — essentially boxing out Biden before he’s in the game.

After all, Democrats need look no further than the front row of the ballroom where Sanders was speaking to see a reminder of the danger of picking a strident liberal as their nominee: There sat Minnesota-native Walter Mondale, who received a standing ovation from the Democratic officials , but whose disastrous 1984 presidential campaign is often invoked as a warning. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, says this is likely designed that way, “because she is very good in small venues and not so much in big ones.” For example, she chose to unveil her college affordability plan to an audience of about 600 at Exeter High School in New Hampshire on Aug. 10. Ronald Reagan crushed Mondale in the blowout election, winning every state and territory in the country except for the District of Columbia and Mondale’s Minnesota – and even there, the margin was just a few thousand votes. When asked about it later in a news conference, Clinton said: “I have said repeatedly that I did not send nor receive classified material, and I’m very confident when this entire process plays out, that will be understood by everyone.

She recently picked up the endorsements of two former governors, Jim Hodges and Dick Riley, the latter who served as education secretary during Bill Clinton’s administration. On Aug. 6, she jazzed up an estimated 300 supporters in a packed nightclub in Denver, and on Aug. 18, held a town meeting in a Las Vegas community center that drew an estimated 300.

He can, pardon the phrase, trump concerns about age by announcing that he’ll seek just a single term — and picking a strong, preferably female, running mate. (Elizabeth Warren would be a tempting choice but probably not an optimal one. And while experts generally agree that Democrats lost the 2014 midterm because they failed to turn out young people and minorities, presidential elections naturally attract an entirely different electorate that tends to be younger, more diverse, and more Democratic. “If there is a large voter turn out, Democrats will do well. It will prove what I have been saying.” Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee raised eyebrows when he touted himself as scandal-free in his remarks. We respect him; we respect whatever decision he makes,” Alice Huffman, a California superdelegate, said in summarizing Mook’s message. “If he gets in the race, we’ll respect him in the race.

But Clinton is ahead of the pace she had eight years ago in securing these commitments, and her support from the core of the establishment represented by these superdelegates is arguably the most tangible evidence of the difficulty Biden would have overtaking her with a late-starting campaign. She’d be divisive in a general election and, at 66, reinforces the age issue.) One-term Biden wouldn’t have to worry about satisfying constituencies or winning reelection. The Wisconsin governor’s campaign billed his speech at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., as a major foreign-policy address, but … represented little new in the way of policy proposals.

He later said this was not “a direct swipe at anybody.” But pressed on how Clinton has handled the e-mail issue, Chafee said: “The rules are the rules, and we all have to adhere to them, and when you don’t, you suffer the consequences. If we do this right, and I’ve talked to people at the Pentagon, if we do this right, for commercial airlines and for military aircraft, we could be fueling so much air traffic with biofuels. In a pair of appearances in Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles in August alone, he attracted an estimated 55,000 people. “I hardly see any liberal enthusiasm for [Clinton], and they are concerned she could even drag down the entire ticket,” charged Richard Viguerie, longtime conservative media strategist, who blames the energy lag on Clinton’s political “baggage” and her demeanor, which he claims has never been “warm and fuzzy.” Michael Cohen, a Boston Globe columnist, disagrees, calling the “enthusiasm gap” a creation of media boredom during the dog days of summer. “I don’t think it much matters what is happening in August,” he told FoxNews.com. “I think it’s hard for anyone to get excited about politics right now. While Clinton said earlier this week that Biden “should have the space and the opportunity to decide what he wants to do,” her campaign is at the same time flexing its muscles to stress the strength of her candidacy. One-term Biden, this argument would go, would be free to craft the kind of bipartisan deals that only a Senate veteran can pull off — although, in my view, Biden’s chief deal-making claim to fame as vice president, the fiscal-cliff agreement, gave away too much to Republicans.

When she returned to Iowa this week, she was joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor who wrote in an op-ed in the Gazette of Cedar Rapids that he intended to caucus for her, “plain and simple.” “I plan on supporting Secretary Clinton. All of a sudden people are saying she is in trouble and I just don’t see any evidence of that.” “She has the support,” Democratic strategist Doug Schoen told FoxNews.com, “but she needs to get a message and to communicate a campaign strategy to mobilize and excite the Democratic base.” Does she have the tools light a fire under this base? “That’s an open question,” Schoen said. An alternative, or perhaps complementary, theory is that Biden could run to Clinton’s left, seeking to seize on the base energy evoked by Warren and, in her stead, Sen. She is the announced candidate,” said George Tsunis, a Long Island, New York, businessman and a top donor to Obama and Biden’s 2012 re-election campaign. “If the vice president were to announce his candidacy and run, I would be supporting the vice president.” Some of the fundraising receptions will be hosted by leading donors to Obama and Biden’s campaigns. But even squared against this time in 2007, Clinton’s crowds don’t hold a candle to those of Obama, who was drawing huge audiences of exuberant, mostly young, supporters.

Walker said. “You see, Islamic extremists and other terrorists are most likely using the same trails into our homeland as the drug cartels, the weapons smugglers and the human traffickers.” In Chicago, Clinton is scheduled to attend fundraisers on Sept. 17 hosted by two longtime Obama supporters, attorney Joseph Power and businessman Michael Polsky.

He slammed what he called a “cynical move” to limit the debates to six and to hold the only New Hampshire debate on a Saturday night in mid-December, the peak of the holiday shopping season. While her husband presides over the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York in late September, Clinton will raise money at seven fundraisers planned in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Barring some major scandal or controversy, and given Hillary and Bill Clinton’s long-standing ties to Democratic Party elites, overcoming her superdelegate edge would be quite a challenge for Biden or the major candidates already competing against her for the nomination, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Yes, on matters of foreign engagement, Biden can argue that he is more appropriately hesitant than Clinton to become embroiled in conflicts. (Of course, that argument can cut against him as well, especially in the case of Biden’s thumbs-down on the successful raid on Osama bin Laden.) But on domestic matters, Biden is no Warren. Following her West Coast swing, Clinton may attend a fundraiser in Nashville with country music stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, but her campaign said late Friday that the event was not yet confirmed.

It could become about Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate — certain elements of her history and her trouble winning a slice of white working-class voters. Not that all his rallies have been ‘full Bern.’ In a recent swing through South Carolina, Sanders faced the stiffer task of appealing to black voters who typically weigh in heavy for Clinton. After Obama took the lead in overall delegates, his campaign began to make a comparable argument about the mathematical inevitability of his ultimate victory.

Yes, he championed the Violence Against Women Act, but a contest with Clinton could end up reviving debate on the handling of the Anita Hill hearings over which Biden presided, not to his credit. The attention to delegate counts, Clinton said Friday, was the “result of the lessons that I learned the last time –how important it is to be as well-organized and focused from the very beginning on delegates and those who are superdelegates.” Viguerie told FoxNews.com that Sanders and Trump are “change” candidates who are stealing the show because they are appealing to voters angry and frustrated with the status quo.

A more competitive primary could make Clinton a better candidate, some observers say, if she uses it to speak more directly about the troubles that have led some to go looking for another candidate. They’ve seen her through personal challenges,” he said. “I think that the test of this will be how much she can recognize that authenticity is everything right now.” On Friday, she made no mention of the emails in her remarks.

Martin O’Malley drew cheers for his passionate tirade against the party — and its limited debate schedule, which he says is rigged to favor Clinton. “How does this help us tell the story of the last eight years of Democratic progress?

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