The War of Words Over Clinton’s Book Has Already Begun

A pro-Hillary super PAC says conservative attacks ahead of her book launch are an attempt to “discourage” her from running.

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 10: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries conference on April 10, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton is continuing on a speaking tour this week with the stop at the recycling industry trade conference.
National Journal
Alex Seitz-Wald
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Alex Seitz-Wald
May 21, 2014, 8:15 a.m.

It’s been a rough few weeks of press for Hil­lary Clin­ton, but a well-con­nec­ted group sup­port­ing her po­ten­tial can­did­acy is fight­ing back against what they see as a “broad and co­ordin­ated” Re­pub­lic­an ef­fort to “dis­cour­age” the former sec­ret­ary of State from run­ning for pres­id­ent in 2016.

In a memo ob­tained by Na­tion­al Journ­al, Cor­rect the Re­cord warns that con­ser­vat­ives have sig­ni­fic­antly stepped up their of­fens­ive on Clin­ton’s re­cord ahead of the June 10 re­lease date of her new mem­oir. The group, the pro-Clin­ton arm of the Demo­crat­ic op­pos­i­tion-re­search su­per PAC Amer­ic­an Bridge, is part of the net­work of out­side groups that make up the se­mi­of­fi­cial cam­paign-in-wait­ing for Clin­ton. 

“The right-wing ap­par­at­us is man­u­fac­tur­ing false and mis­lead­ing at­tack after false and mis­lead­ing at­tack to try to dis­cour­age Clin­ton’s de­cision about 2016,” Cor­rect the Re­cord Dir­ect­or Isaac Wright writes in the memo. “Fear­ful of the en­ergy around Clin­ton, the right-wing es­tab­lish­ment is prov­ing that it will stop at noth­ing in its ef­forts to di­min­ish one of Clin­ton’s greatest as­sets: her re­cord.”

In­deed, Clin­ton’s ten­ure as sec­ret­ary of State has come un­der in­tense cri­ti­cism from the right in re­cent days, with Re­pub­lic­ans es­cal­at­ing their in­quiry in­to the Benghazi at­tack, while sim­ul­tan­eously cri­ti­ciz­ing her policy on Rus­sia, Ir­an, and the Ni­ger­ia-based mil­it­ant group Boko Haram.

Clin­ton’s book will fo­cus on her time at State and is widely seen as lay­ing out her cre­den­tials for a run. 

The memo goes on to de­fend Clin­ton on each line of at­tack launched by con­ser­vat­ive of­fi­cials, pub­lic­a­tions, or out­side groups, with the pro-Clin­ton group provid­ing a re­sponse to each — 24 in total.

For in­stance, when Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla., gave Clin­ton’s re­cord at State an “F” on ABC’s This Week, Cor­rect the Re­cord Com­mu­nic­a­tions Dir­ect­or Ad­rienne El­rod fired back hard. She ac­cused the sen­at­or of “pos­tur­ing …in an at­tempt to ap­peal to the kind of par­tis­an ex­trem­ism re­quired to be a po­ten­tial Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate these days.”

El­rod went on to say that “Amer­ic­ans want lead­er­ship like Hil­lary Clin­ton’s that is built on mak­ing the fu­ture bet­ter, not an agenda dic­tated by Tea Party fear­mon­ger­ing fin­anced by the Koch broth­ers.”

Even though we’re two and half years out from the 2016 elec­tion, Demo­crats need to take these at­tacks on Clin­ton’s re­cord ser­i­ously, the group be­lieves, and so it’s bet­ter to re­spond to them quickly and strongly than to leave them un­answered. If the at­tacks — and coun­ter­at­tacks — have already reached fever pitch be­fore the book re­lease, just ima­gine how much more heated things will get when crit­ics pour over its con­tents.

So far, ac­cord­ing to Cor­rect the Re­cord, eight dif­fer­ent or­gan­iz­a­tions or pro­jects have sprung up with the primary pur­pose of fight­ing a po­ten­tial Clin­ton can­did­acy.

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