Hillary: The Comeback Kid?
BY EDWARD KLEIN/ OCTOBER 12, 2015
(A slightly different version of this piece first appeared in the New York Post.)
If you’ve been paying attention to the wall-to-wall media coverage of Hillary Clinton, you’d be excused for thinking she’s heading into next week’s Democratic debate as a badly wounded candidate whose quest for the presidency is doomed by her sinking polls numbers, e-mail scandal and upcoming grilling by the Benghazi committee.
According to my sources, Hillary’s advisers are confident that next tomorrow night’s debate will turn out to be her big night. They predict that the media will declare her the winner of the debate and portray her as the comeback kid.
What’s more, they tell me that Hillary’s performance in the debate could very well mark the beginning of her unstoppable march to the Democratic nomination.
In short, Hillary may be unlikeable (as I call her in my new book), but she is not unelectable.
Is this just a lot of political spin on the part of Hillary’s handlers?
Or are they justified in being optimistic?
I think they may be on to something.
To begin with, Hillary’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live may be her last stab at trying to appear charming and likeable—a persona that has never fit her pugnacious personality.
Since then, she has reverted to form and taken off the gloves.
Over the past two weeks, she has slammed the Benghazi hearings as nothing more than a Republican instigated political witch-hunt aimed at suppressing her poll numbers.
She’s bashed the Supreme Court and the National Rifle Association over the Second Amendment.
She’s thumbed her nose at Barack Obama by coming out against one of the president’s major foreign-policy goals—the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
And with her approval, her opposition research team has been collecting dirt on Vice President Joe Biden, which Hillary’s camp is prepared to release to the media if Biden enters the nominating race.
“Hillary’s always at her most effective when her back is to the wall,” says one of her longtime political advisers. “After weeks of pounding and pummeling by the press, she’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any more.”
Hillary rage has been on full display behind the scenes of her campaign.
“Hillary’s been having screaming, child-like tantrums that have left staff members in tears and unable to work,” says a campaign aide. “She thought the nomination was hers for the asking, but her mounting problems have been getting to her and she’s become shrill and, at times, even violent.”
In one incident, Hillary berated a low-level campaign worker for making a scheduling mistake. When the girl had the nerve to turn her back on Hillary and walk away, Hillary grabbed her arm and twisted it.
Bill Clinton and Hillary’s campaign team are concerned that her anger may spin out of control in public. They have been trying to calm her down.
They are concerned that she could have a serious meltdown in front of TV cameras, which would make her look so out of control that voters would decide she doesn’t have the temperament to be commander in chief.
They also fear that she could work herself into a tizzy and have another fainting spell, which would instantly doom her candidacy.
Their goal is to channel her anger and make her focus on Republicans, not on her campaign aides and fellow Democrats.
“We’re having some success in giving her some chill pills,” says a campaign adviser. “She’s beginning to understand that she can use her righteous anger and indignation to good effect. After all, her anger is in keeping with the mood of the American electorate.”