Tags: Conway | Hankin | Republicans | election

Party Pundits Opine on Politics

By    |   Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 07:38 AM

On April 13, C-SPAN's Steve Scully interviewed Stefan Hankin and Kellyanne Conway, strategists for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, who have both founded political and marketing consulting firms, Lincoln Park Strategies (Hankin) and The Polling Co. (Conway).

The issues on the agenda included Affordable Care Act, income inequality, gender pay equity, tax and fiscal issues and President Obama's political future. Hankin worked for the Obama campaign, while Conway was the leading strategist for Newt Gingrich in 2012.

In the course of the interview, they discussed some provocative political rumors. For example, Conway speculated that Hillary Clinton would ultimately decide not to run for president. Hankin, who comes across as quite moderate, added that if this is the case, the currently dormant contest for the Democratic nomination would prove to be more competitive than the Republican contest would be.

When Scully brought up a report by The Hill's Alexander Bolton that Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, might switch to the Republican Party if the Republicans are in a position after the election to take control of the Senate, Hankin was unfazed, and he allowed that this could be in King's personal interest and in the interest of the state.

Another live rumor is that the other nominal independent in the Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, might run for president as the "progressive candidate." Hankin quipped that it would be a good thing for extreme candidates from both left and right to be heard during the campaign, even though they have no chance of winning.

The group discussed the continuing controversy over a remark made the previous Sunday by Jeb Bush that immigration was "not a felony but an act of love." Conway called this an example of "rustiness on the stump" on the part of Bush. She said the Republicans need to come up with a position in between deportation and amnesty.

Hankin observed that with Democrats winning 75 percent of the Hispanic vote, if the Republicans cannot bring that number down below 60 percent, it won't do them any good to recruit Hispanic voters. (In a recent presentation to The Christian Science Monitor, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, insisted that both parties have demographic vulnerabilities and that the Republicans can make worthwhile inroads by making sure to sustain a conversation with the Hispanic community.

When Scully referred to polls showing that disapproval of Obamacare had reached 54 percent versus 43 percent approval, Hankin was ready with arguments that some of those who disapprove think Obamacare didn't go far enough, and he confidently predicted that the numbers would look better by 2016, although he admitted that the healthcare law could use some changes short of repeal.

Asked about the re-election prospects of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., Conway said he would be "fine" in the primary, but vulnerable in the general election to a Democratic campaign on the theme of the "war against women." She argued strongly for open primaries instead of conventions as preferable to conventions as a way of finding a strong, tested candidate the rank and file would support.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
On April 13, C-SPAN's Steve Scully interviewed Stefan Hankin and Kellyanne Conway, strategists for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, who have both founded political and marketing consulting firms, Lincoln Park Strategies (Hankin) and The Polling Co. (Conway).
Conway, Hankin, Republicans, election
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2014-38-16
Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 07:38 AM
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