10 wild new revelations about Hillary Clinton's doomed campaign
From late-night calls from the White House to "bondage" tethers...
It was supposed to be Hillary Clinton's race to win — or at least it seemed that way from the outside. But in a revealing new book, Shattered, journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes interviewed more than 100 sources to paint how Clinton's run for the presidency became just "another iceberg-seeking campaign ship."
Here is a glimpse at 10 of their biggest revelations:
1. Even Clinton's close friends think she is responsible for her loss.
…Friends and advisers think that Clinton "bears the blame for her defeat," arguing that her actions before the campaign (setting up a private email server, becoming entangled in the Clinton Foundation, giving speeches to Wall Street banks) "hamstrung her own chances so badly that she couldn't recover," ensuring that she could not "cast herself as anything but a lifelong insider when so much of the country had lost faith in its institutions." [The New York Times]
2. Huma Abedin kept Clinton sheltered.
[Abedin] couldn't be counted on to relay constructive criticism to Hillary without pointing a finger at the critic. [Axios]
3. The campaign was unfocused and decentralized, making it an organizational nightmare.
Hillary distributed power so broadly that none of her aides or advisers had control of the whole apparatus. [NPR]
4. Former President Bill Clinton was not always helpful.
Bill Clinton's chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, "mentioned to him and a small group of his aides that she was going to see the Rolling Stones in Europe. 'Mick Jagger used to give my mother-in-law wet dreams,' Bill offered." [Axios]
5. And when he was helpful, he was ignored.
[Shattered is] the story of a wildly dysfunctional and "spirit-crushing" campaign that embraced a flawed strategy (based on flawed data) and that failed, repeatedly, to correct course. A passive-aggressive campaign that neglected to act on warning flares sent up by Democratic operatives on the ground in crucial swing states, and that ignored the advice of the candidate's husband, former President Bill Clinton, and other Democratic Party elders, who argued that the campaign needed to work harder to persuade undecided and ambivalent voters (like working-class whites and millennials), instead of focusing so insistently on turning out core supporters. [The New York Times]
6. Long plagued by security criticisms, the campaign did not mess around with top-secret debate prep.
Worried about leaving his supersecret [debate] prep materials in an Uber, [Philippe] Reines [who played Donald Trump] bought a heavy-duty tether so that he could lock his briefcase to his waist. He actually acquired two different versions — one of which was originally designed for bondage enthusiasts. [Axios]
7. Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, made the disastrous error of underestimating Bernie Sanders, but the campaign didn't correct for the rise of populism when they were running against Trump, either.
Allen and Parnes report that Donna Brazile, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, was worried in early October about the lack of ground forces in major swing states, and that Mook had "declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign," despite pleas from advisers in crucial states. [The New York Times]
8. President Obama instructed Clinton to concede with "dignity."
At one point, the authors describe how, in the early hours of Nov. 9 — not long after The Associated Press officially called the race for Trump, and hours after most of the Clinton camp had all but given up hope of winning — the 2016 Democratic nominee got a call from President Obama.
"You need to concede," Obama told his former secretary of state, according to the authors. The president, who had hit the campaign trail hard for Clinton, now believed the race was over and was determined that she accept her defeat with "dignity."
"After Trump had questioned the legitimacy of the election, the last thing Obama wanted was for Hillary to reinforce that message. As president, it was his job to safeguard the integrity of the political process," the authors write. [People]
9. Clinton later called to apologize to President Obama when she lost.
"Mr. President, I'm sorry." [Axios]
10. Clinton didn't want to criticize Trump in her concession speech.
"Look I really just want to concede gracefully, wish him the best, thank everybody, and get off the stage ... This is not a moment for me to do more than that."
Jake Sullivan, [Clinton's] chief strategist took the lead in defending the tone. "Everything you said, we're going to do in this speech ... But you have been saying for many months that he is temperamentally unfit and that he would be dangerous, and, if you meant it, you should say it." […]
"It's not my job anymore to do this," she said, her voice growing more forceful ... "Other people will criticize him. That's their job. I have done it. I just lost, and that is that ... That was my last race." [Politico]