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David Axelrod: Hillary's 'Six-Figure' Speeches Hurt 2016 Chances

Image: David Axelrod: Hillary's 'Six-Figure' Speeches Hurt 2016 Chances
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Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 01:59 PM

David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, says that potential White House candidate Hillary Clinton made a mistake by going on a book tour and conducting paid speeches across the country.

While promoting his new book, "Believer: My Forty Years in Politics," Axelrod said, "If I had been advising her, would I have advised that route? No! She had some opportunities she wanted to seize, and she did."

During a radio podcast with Politico’s Glenn Thrush, Axelrod suggested that it was a bad move in light of her possible presidential run in 2016, while adding, "We’ll see what she does when she actually become a candidate."

The former secretary of state has been paid "six-figure" sums for the speeches, according to the Democratic strategist, while also cashing in with her best-selling book, "Hard Choices."

Axelrod also said that the wealth that Hillary and former President Bill Clinton have amassed since they first moved into the White House with little money in the bank may hurt the former first lady in a potential campaign by turning off middle-class voters in the same way that Mitt Romney did in 2012.

"I question whether her circumstances now somehow render her unable to empathize with the struggles of people," he said.

"When she ran in 2008, she drew on her own experience growing up in a middle class family and their struggles, and she’s going to need to draw on that (again) to be the candidate that she needs to be."

It emerged on Wednesday that anxious Democrats are concerned that Clinton is hurting her potential campaign by delaying an announcement that she plans a White House run.

Leading Democrats and Clinton allies want her to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later, so that she can start raising funds and setting up her organization in early presidential voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

But Axelrod told the podcast, "The fact is that her campaign is being formulated now. Everything I see is that she is doing a good deal of soul-searching and giving a good deal of thought to both the structure of the campaign and the rationale for the campaign — why she feels she should run for president.

"I know her pretty well. I have worked for her and I have worked against her, and I have known her for 20 years. I think she believes deeply in this country and in the principle that the broadest number of people should get the fairest shot. People who work hard should get ahead. You should not be limited by the circumstances in which you are born."

He continued, "I thought she was a bad candidate in 2007. She was debilitated by the presumption of inevitability (of becoming the Democratic presidential nominee). That rendered her very cautious.

"When she lost in Iowa and the race seemed almost lost, she threw caution to the wind and … her own vulnerabilities were obvious and made her more approachable.

"So the question moving forward is, can she reclaim that authentic self. Or how does she handle the presumption of inevitability."

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David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, says that potential White House candidate Hillary Clinton made a mistake by going on a book tour and conducting paid speeches across the country.
david axelrod, hillary clinton, presidency, speeches, book tour
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2015-59-12
Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 01:59 PM
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