Clinton resets campaign strategy

Clinton resets campaign strategy
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats go all out to court young voters for 2020 Pelosi: Whistleblower complaint 'must be addressed immediately' Election meddling has become the new normal of US diplomacy MORE is resetting her campaign strategy with aggressive attacks against Republicans to move the conversation away from questions about the email controversy that has dogged her for months. 

By comparing Republicans to terrorists and calling the GOP "the party of Trump," Clinton grabbed headlines and sought to assuage doubts about her campaign, even while it has lost ground in recent polls. 

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Democratic strategists say while her talking points are the same as they have been, her delivery, emphasis and posture has changed. 

“The more the discussion is about the differences between her and the Republican field on women’s health or immigration, that’s far better turf for her to be fighting on than another news cycle on the emails or the server,” said longtime Democratic strategist Joe Trippi. 

“This new, aggressive tack, I think, is smart because for two days, we’ve been talking about Hillary and the Republican field fighting on differences on women’s health, and not talking about [issues] that the Republicans would rather be fighting on.” 

The former secretary of State put that shift on full display Thursday when she blasted the GOP presidential field’s stance on women’s issues, comparing them to “terrorist groups.” 

“Extreme views about women, we expect them from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world,” she said during a campaign rally in Cleveland, glancing down at notes on the lectern. 

“It’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, but they espouse out-of-date and out-of-touch policies. They are dead wrong for twenty-first century America.” 

That immediately elicited criticism from her Republican rivals and the national party, characterizing the comments as an offensive dismissal of those who disagreed with her and calling for an apology.  

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) panned Clinton’s comments as “over the top rhetoric,” Friday on CNBC and said the campaign’s attempts to change the conversation won’t work. 

“She has zero credibility and it's eroding by the day. She’s a desperate candidate who obviously has badly hurt by the revelations of deceitfulness that occurred with e-mails and server that she had,” he said. 

“I think people see exactly what’s happening here. That is a desperate campaign who now potentially sees a challenge from Joe Biden. And they’re trying to change the subject, but the subject won’t change.” 

But her comment also changed the conversation to an issue that Clinton hopes can help fire up her base and thinks could be an asset come the general election. 

Clinton supporters may have become “complacent” because of her large lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Trippi added. With that gap tightening and Biden looming somewhere on the horizon, Trippi believes help motivate her supporters. 

The perceived inevitability of Clinton as the Democratic front-runner has taken recent hits. 

More polls this week show her lead over Democratic challengers narrowing and a new Quinnipiac University poll found that when people were asked to describe Clinton with one word, 57 percent of those words are negative—“liar” and “dishonest” being the most chosen—or reference her email controversy. 

And now, she faces the increasing prospect of a Biden bid. 

“She knows what everyone else knows—that there is a perception that somehow she has lost inevitability and this will not be as easy as people thought. So her job is to make it appear that that is untrue,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist who previously worked with Clinton but is not involved in the campaign. 

“The fact that Biden is mentioned is an indication that there is some question about the inevitability factor, the nature of her campaign and whether she can successfully overcome the obstacles that Republicans will put in front of her during the upcoming hearings.” 

How she addresses the email server controversy also has changed, appearing more conciliatory while answering questions about the issue this week. 

Last week, she responded to reporters by shrugging, joking and saying average Americans don’t support the issue. But this week, she softened her approach.  

“I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of State. I understand why, I get it. So here’s what I want the American people to know,” she said Wednesday in Iowa. 

“My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice, I should have used two emails: one personal, one for work, and I take responsibility for that decision.” 

She took a similar tone during the DNC Summer Meetings Friday in Minneapolis. 

“I’m not frustrated,” she told reporters in a news conference after her speech, when asked about her reaction to continuing email questions.  

“I’m trying to do a better job of explaining to people what is going on so there is not so much concern.” 

Shortly after that, she was faced with a series of questions by Fox News’ Ed Henry, who has doggedly pressed her on the email issue before.“Let me answer one of your questions, because I think that’s what you are entitled to,” Clinton said with a smile. 

A former Clinton campaign aide told The Hill that the “combativeness” by the campaign on the email questions “drowned out the campaign’s larger message of her candidacy. 

He added that the campaign needs to be less defensive and more responsive on the email controversy, while also pushing through it and keeping the focus on her message to voters. 

“You are starting to see a shift in tone,” he said. 

“If they are less combative, I think that the other issues can break through. It’s breaking through on the ground, but in the national ecosystem, it wasn’t breaking through.”