Democratic operatives and politicians are looking at how Hillary Rodham Clinton has handled revelations about her email practices while secretary of state
for what it suggests about her readiness to campaign for the presidency, The Washington Post
"Had this story been responded to in two or three days instead of in eight days, it would not be as big," said Robert Gibbs, a former press secretary for President Barack Obama. "They are the ones who put air in this balloon in a way that was not necessary at all."
Gibbs added, "It's clear they lack an apparatus. She's a candidate without a campaign," the Post reported.
Clinton defenders said the media made too much of a commotion about her email.
"She used the wrong email account – duh-dah! It's ridiculous," Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told the Post. He said the media was obsessed with an issue that was "totally artificial."
Pro-Clinton strategist Hilary Rosen told the Post, "I don't think that we should look at this as a symbol of anything other than just bad timing."
For many Democrats, though, the way Clinton has handled the fuss suggests she is unprepared to seek the presidency and serves as a troubling indicator of what her campaign might be like, according to the Post.
The characterizations of how Clinton and her team managed the controversy range from "clumsy" and "insular" to "arrogant" and "worrisome."
Clinton's campaign manager in-waiting Robby Mook
and longtime adviser Huma Abedin are already in-place. Incoming communications director Jennifer Palmieri
has not yet left her current Obama White House job.
Clinton's supporters were left to go on television without talking points from the incipient campaign, though some got cursory supporting materials — if they asked for it, the Post reported.
The email controversy does not appear, however, to have changed Clinton's position as the undisputed Democratic front-runner. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll
found that 86 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they could see themselves supporting Clinton. Her overall favorable-to-unfavorable polling rating is 44 to 36 percent.
"The team around her is on notice now that they'll need to respond to criticisms and accusations in a more timely fashion," said former Michigan Democratic Gov. James Blanchard, the Post reported.
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