In a memo sent to Hillary Clinton supporters to convince them not to fret over the candidate’s electoral prospects, the Democrat’s campaign manager cited what may be the worst example of another presidential campaign that overcame obstacles on its path to the White House.
“Winning campaigns have a plan and stick to it, in good times and bad. President Obama endured significant pressure in 2007 to abandon his strategy, but his campaign remained focused on winning in Iowa and ultimately prevailed,” Robby Mook, Clinton’s 35-year-old campaign manager, wrote to Hillary backers in a six-page memo.
Mook’s choice is odd given how the 2008 Democratic contest played out.
Clinton was the early favorite to win the Democratic party nomination that cycle. She led Obama, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden in most polls throughout the summer and fall of 2007. It wasn’t until the middle of November that year that Clinton starting ceding ground to Obama.
Obama won the Iowa caucus with 38 percent of the vote. Edwards took 30 percent, and Clinton garnered 29 percent. Clinton and Obama ran neck and neck throughout the primaries, but the young senator from Illinois eventually prevailed before taking the White House.
Using Obama’s success as a template, Mook, who worked on Clinton’s failed 2008 effort, laid out three critical focal points for the current bid.
“It is therefore critical that Hillary Clinton’s campaign continues to focus three priorities: (1) delivering a clear message, (2) raising the right kind of resources, (3) understanding the importance of data, analytics and technology, and (3) building the type of robust ground and online organization it takes to win primary states and the general election.”
While Clinton is still a heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination, she’s certainly looking in her rear view mirror as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to gain ground. A poll released on Tuesday showed that Sanders leads Clinton 44-38 in New Hampshire.
Adding to the concern for Clinton backers are the never-ending developments in the saga over her emails. The scandal took another bad turn for the former secretary of state when her campaign announced on Tuesday that Clinton was handing her email server over to the Justice Department. That scandal has contributed to Clinton’s weakening poll numbers in the areas of favorability and trustworthiness.
Mook indicates in the memo that he’s not worried, though the release of the document suggests there’s at least some concern inside the campaign.
To help bolster Clinton supporters’ spirits, Mook asserts that the campaign’s ground game is hitting on all cylinders. He also insists that the Republican field, which consists of 17 candidates as of this writing, faces major obstacles of its own.
“It’s difficult to overstate how damaged the GOP brand is, as a majority of Americans view the Republican Party as out of date and out of touch,” Mook writes, pointing to Clinton’s greater support among black, Hispanic, LGBT, Millennial, and women voters.
“Despite an onslaught of attacks from the Republicans and an unprecedented level and tone of media scrutiny, Hillary leads all of her would-be Republican opponents in virtually every general election survey,” says Mook.
“Hillary for America has broken fundraising records, broken social media engagement records and — by a wide margin — we have the strongest ground organization ever assembled in the early states and around the country at this stage in a presidential campaign.”
Mook took a separate shot at Republicans lawmakers in the memo over their involvement in the email scandal, which is causing the most worry in Clintonland.
“Congressional Republicans are waging a multi-million dollar, taxpayer-financed campaign against her,” Mook writes, referring to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The committee, led by Trey Gowdy, has spent a reported $6 million in its investigation but has unearthed a significant amount of new information about Benghazi and Clinton’s email arrangement.
“It has also gone on longer than the investigations of Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, Iran-Contra and Hurricane Katrina,” Mook said of the Committee’s inquiry.