Team Clinton to huddle with lawmakers

Team Clinton to huddle with lawmakers
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Senior aides to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE will meet with Democratic lawmakers this week, as the Democratic presidential front-runner seeks to reset her campaign for the fall. 

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, national political director Amanda Renteria and communications director Jennifer Palmieri will be on hand for Thursday’s meeting at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee offices in Washington, where they will discuss messaging and strategy. 

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Another “briefing” with congressional chiefs of staff is set to take place Wednesday with Palmieri and other aides, sources told The Hill.

One Democrat with knowledge of the meetings say the Clinton aides will discuss the organizing efforts in the early voting states and the expansion to the Super Tuesday and other March primary states.

Team Clinton will update the lawmakers on the latest policy proposals, messaging strategies and outreach efforts, the Democrat said.

Lawmakers are returning to Washington after a recess during August, a difficult month for Clinton’s campaign. The front-runner has lost her lead in New Hampshire to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo This week: Congress starts year-end legislative sprint Restless progressives eye 2024 MORE (I-Vt.), who is also gaining on Clinton in Iowa with his populist message.

She is dealing with the lingering controversy surrounding her use of a private email server as secretary of State, which has led Vice President Biden to publicly consider becoming another challenger for the Democratic crown. 

A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday found Clinton’s lead in the Democratic race has fallen due to support for a Biden candidacy.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have repeatedly rallied around Clinton, and not a single lawmaker has endorsed Sanders. They have also been reluctant to discuss any worries about the email controversy, which polls suggest has eroded voter trust in Clinton. 

But privately, some Democrats are worried, something that has recently become apparent in their public comments. Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) recently acknowledged that people are “really concerned” about the emails. And privately, senior aides on Capitol Hill agree.

“It really needs to be discussed,” said one senior Democratic House aide. “This isn’t going away, and they need to have a better strategy for combating this problem, or it’s not going to go away. That’s the scary part.”

Clinton’s decision to keep lawmakers abreast of her strategy could also contrast favorably with President Obama, whom allies on Capitol Hill have criticized as aloof. 

Clinton faces a crucial six weeks that will include the first Democratic debate on Oct. 13 and her testimony to the House Benghazi Committee on Oct. 22.

Both events could allow Clinton to redefine herself, but they also pose challenges that could keep the negative storylines going and cut into her approval ratings.

Looking ahead, Clinton aides say they plan to spend a significant amount of time addressing the email issue in the coming weeks. 

In an interview with ABC’s David Muir on Tuesday, Clinton offered an apology for using email on a private server. “That was a mistake,” she said. “I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.”

One senior Clinton aide said a major objective for her campaign is to break down the issue for the public. Part of this strategy is to plaster Clinton everywhere, often in places where she might have a better chance of discussing the email issue on her own terms. 

She is scheduled to appear on Ellen DeGeneres’s daytime talk show and on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” later this week. Other appearances and interviews will be forthcoming, aides say.

“As we continue to be forthcoming and show we take the issue seriously, that combined with the emails themselves being released, will help clear the air over time,” the senior Clinton aide said.

In the coming weeks, the campaign will also roll out more policy. On Wednesday, for instance, Clinton will discuss the Iran deal. 

And aides say the Iran speech won’t just be a one-off. She will lean into and flesh out the issue over time and use it as a window to tell the story of her
tenure as secretary of State. 

She is also expected to attend more grassroots events that are built around women in an effort to galvanize a crucial constituency.

At the same time, former President Bill Clinton, who has been sitting on the sidelines since his wife announced her candidacy, will begin to have a more public role, aides say. 

The former president intends to headline more fundraisers, including one set for Sept. 17, which is meant to give Hillary Clinton a boost.

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week, Clinton maintained that her own strategy has gone well. 

“I have worked really hard this summer, sticking to my game plan about how I wanted to sort of reintroduce myself to the American people,” she said. 

This story was updated at 7:53 p.m.