Sep 3, 2015 7:00 AM
First on NH1 News: Anti-Clinton group questions timing of Shaheen endorsement
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
CONCORD -- A top pro-Republican super PAC says Hillary Clinton’s official endorsement by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire’s most well-known and most popular Democratic politician, is a sign of “desperation.”
The attack comes in a memo to be released Thursday by America Rising executive director Colin Reed titled “Clinton Campaign’s Premature Shaheen Rollout Reeks of Desperation.”
The memo by the group, which along with the Republican National Committee has long been targeting Clinton, was obtained by NH1 News.
The long expected official backing by Shaheen, which will take place Saturday at a “Women for Hillary” event in Portsmouth, comes as Clinton’s poll numbers in New Hampshire, other early voting states, and nationally, have slipped, thanks in part to the controversy over her use of private email and a private server during her four years as secretary of state. Clinton, who was once the overwhelming front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, slightly trails Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the most recent two public opinion surveys in New Hampshire.
In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said Wednesday that the timing of the endorsement was more about the calendar than about poll numbers.
“I think we’re going into a different phase of the campaign, post Labor Day. People are going to pay more attention in the run up through the fall, “ Podesta said. “So this was an important and appropriate time to have that endorsement and to energize supporters here who love Sen. Shaheen.”
But Reed disagrees, writing that “Hillary Clinton is choosing to announce this critical endorsement on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, a day when newsrooms are typically short-staffed and voters are focused on family activities.”
“The reason for this abandonment of strategic timing is her campaign’s increasing nervousness that comes with their free-fall in the polls and the never-ending scandal surrounding her private email sever, which is under investigation by the F.B.I.,” Reed added.
Correct the Record, the rapid response group that's defending Clinton, fired back at America Rising.
"Its rich to hear this from the campaign manager for Scott Brown's failed senatorial bid—an election won by now-Senator Jeanne Shaheen. The only desperation we’re sensing here is from the out of touch, out of date Republican Party which has no plan for the American people, no strong candidates, and too much time on their hands," Correct the Record press secretary Daniel Wessel told NH1 News.
Read the memo:
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Colin Reed, Executive Director, America Rising PAC
DATE: Thursday, September 3, 2015
RE: Clinton Campaign’s Premature Shaheen Rollout Reeks of Desperation
The Boston Globe’s James Pindell wrote this week that “there is no greater N.H. Democratic endorsement than” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. So why is Hillary Clinton rolling out such an important supporter so soon, on a notoriously slow news weekend?
Typically, campaigns wait to unveil such endorsements at key moments in the race to maximize press coverage and the political bounce. For example, Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign waited until January of the election year – mere days before the pivotal First-in-the-Nation primary – to announce the endorsement of two-time New Hampshire primary winner John McCain, who is affectionately referred to as the third senator from the Granite State.
Yet Hillary Clinton is choosing to announce this critical endorsement on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, a day when newsrooms are typically short-staffed and voters are focused on family activities.
The reason for this abandonment of strategic timing is her campaign’s increasing nervousness that comes with their free-fall in the polls and the never-ending scandal surrounding her private email sever, which is under investigation by the F.B.I.
Consider the following five factors that are contributing to Team Clinton’s desperation:
- Not one, but two, independent polls show Clinton trailing Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire by significant margins.
- A Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll released on August 25th showed Sanders leading Clinton 42-35
- A Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll released on August 11th showed Sanders leading Clinton 44-37
- Clinton is on the wrong side of a growing uproar over the lack of primary debates among Granite State Democrats. Both Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders went so far as to say the Democrats’ system was rigged, while the Concord Monitor editorialized on the need for more debates. Even Clinton surrogate and DNC Committeewoman Kathy Sullivan risked the ire of the DNC and Clinton campaign by calling for more debates.
- Just days ahead of Shaheen’s endorsement, Clinton dispatched her campaign chairman John Podesta and top surrogate Howard Dean to the Granite State to shore up softening support. While this sort of coordinated surrogate blitz is typical in the months leading up to the NH primary, it is extremely unusual during a holiday week in late summer.
- Desperate for positive headlines amid a new deluge of reports on her email scandal on Tuesday, Clinton attempted to re-rollout Dean’s endorsement, despite the fact that Dean publicly endorsed Clinton in April of 2014 and has been a vocal surrogate for her ever since.
- Questions have been raised about Clinton deploying opposition researchers to Burlington, VT to dig through old files and damaging material on Bernie Sanders. One of the researchers was spotted by a local reporter wearing a Shaheen t-shirt, pointing to a potential connection with Clinton’s NH campaign, which is largely staffed by Shaheen veterans.
With a new national ABC News/Washington Post poll showing Clinton’s favorability rating at its lowest since April 2008 and and Joe Biden's organization beginning to build up strength in early states as the Vice President reportedly gets closer to entering the race, Clinton’s showing in New Hampshire is clearly a pivotal component of her primary strategy, and Shaheen’s endorsement is a big part of that. The massive amount of early firepower her campaign is willing to expend is further proof that they are extremely concerned about her performance in the Granite State thus far, and her chances in next year’s primary.
Presidential campaigns don’t sacrifice strategic timing unless they have no choice. And with this early endorsement, the Clinton campaign has demonstrated that they are running out of options to right the ship.