Hacked Emails Reveal Clinton Campaign Errors
On the eve of the New Hampshire primary in February, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton was worried. Hillary Clinton was about to go down to defeat in the state, and the former president was despondent. “He’s losing it bad today,” Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, wrote to John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, in an email. She added, “If you’re in NH please see if you can talk to him.” Sign Up For NYT Now's Morning Briefing Newsletter The email was one of thousands released by WikiLeaks on Monday that provided a revealing glimpse into the inner workings of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. They show a candidacy that began expecting a coronation and was thrown badly off course by a misreading of the electorate and a struggle to define what she stood for. Stretching over nine years, but drawn mainly from the past two years, the correspondence captures in detail the campaign’s extreme caution and difficulty in identifying a core rationale for her candidacy, and the noisy world of advisers, friends and family members trying to exert influence. At one point, more than a dozen campaign aides corresponded about whether Mrs. Clinton could tell a joke at an Iowa dinner about the hairstyles of two Republicans: Donald J. Trump and Trey Gowdy, the representative from South Carolina who led the inquiry into Mrs. Clinton’s handling of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. “I love the joke, too,” wrote Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s policy chief, but he added that Mrs. Clinton should stay “above the committee.” The exchanges show how Mrs. Clinton’s long-gestating plans to pursue the presidency collided with a newly populist mood in the Democratic electorate (which one of her advisers called the “Red Army”). And they detail how, even as Mrs. Clinton was brushing off questions early on about her political plans, insisting that a run was not on her mind, she had already enlisted aides to wrestle with how to reposition a career politician as an agent of change and how openly to rely on gender to stoke grass-roots enthusiasm. Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, did not dispute the authenticity of the emails, which were believed to have been obtained by hackers who breached Mr. Podesta’s account. But he assailed Mr. Trump’s campaign for praising their release. “This comes after Donald Trump encouraged more espionage over the summer and continued to deny the hack even happened at Sunday’s debate,” Mr. Caplin said, alluding to election-related email hacks that have been linked to Russian security forces.