False Start

Clinton Starts Her Book Tour Looking Like She Is “Not Quite Ready For Primetime”


Clinton’s Book Rollout Was “Carefully Scripted” With “High-Profile Television Interviews And Planned Leaks To The News Media.” “Finally, after a carefully scripted rollout that included high-profile television interviews and planned leaks to the news media, Mrs. Clinton arrived just after 11:00 a.m. for her first book signing on a nationwide tour to promote her new memoir, ‘Hard Choices.’” (Amy Chozick, “Hillary Clinton’s book Signing Has Air Of A Campaign Event,” The New York Times, 6/10/14)

  • Clinton’s Memoir Launch Was A “Stage-Managed Rollout Of A Sanitized Book.” “But amid a stage-managed rollout of a sanitized book, whose 635 pages read as though they were scrubbed by several dozen loyal aides and lawyers to prevent any admissions, it was the sort of reality that people notice.” (Michael Crowley, “Hillary’s Highly Choreographed Reality,” Time, 6/12/14)
  • The Clinton World Added “Seasoned Political Hands To Help Communicate Clinton’s Message Around The Book.” “Once an operation with just a few press staff and advisers – along with dozens of informal friends and longtime confidants – the Clinton world has added a few seasoned political hands to help communicate Clinton’s message around the book.” (Dan Merica, “‘Hard Choices,’: A Book Rollout Or A Campaign Tune Up?,” CNN, 6/8/14)

“Clinton’s Early Book Signings Were Case Studies In Micromanagement.” “Until then, nothing had been left to chance. Select chapters of Hard Choices had been leaked ahead of time, and Clinton’s early book signings were case studies in micromanagement: a publication-day Barnes & Noble event in New York forbade personalized inscriptions and photos with the author.” (Michael Crowley, “Hillary’s Highly Choreographed Reality,” Time, 6/12/14)

  • Clinton’s First Stop On Her Book Tour Was A “Tightly-Managed Appearance.” “The first event on Hillary Clinton’s book-tour-slash-2016-launch had everything you’d want from a political rally. There were stickers, volunteers in t-shirts, curious onlookers, supporters, hyperactive reporters, and a brief, tightly-managed appearance from the candidate herself. It was lacking only two things. The first was energy. The second was a campaign.” (Phillip Bump, “The Clinton Campaign Gets Underway At Union Square Bookstore,” The Washington Post, 6/10/14)


Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin On Clinton’s Week: “She Was Rusty.” “Said Halperin, ‘She was rusty. To handle the wealth question the way she did did not show a lot of deftness, a lot of finesse.’” (Dylan Byers, “Halperin, Heilemann Slam ‘Rusty’ Clinton,” Politico, 6/12/14)

Politico’s Maggie Haberman: Clinton “Sounds Not Quite Ready For Primetime.” HABERMAN: “Today there was the audio that you just played and I think when you combine them together, she sounds not quite ready for primetime in these moments where she has to get hard questions.” (CNN’s “The Lead,” 6/12/14) 

Clinton’s “Rags-To-Riches” Story Didn’t Really Resonate

“No Talking Point In Hillary Clinton’s Hyper-Organized Book Rollout This Week Fell Quite As Flat As Her Rags-To-Riches Tale” About Being “Dead Broke” At The End Of Her Husband’s Term.  “Bet on it: She won’t be trying the Cinderella Woman thing again. It’s fair to say that no talking point in Hillary Clinton’s hyper-organized book rollout this week fell quite as flat as her rags-to-riches tale of starting out on the wrong side of the tracks … at the White House. How she and poor Bill, ‘dead broke,’ had to labor for days (or was it hours?) at a meager $200,000 a speech before they could afford those multi-million-dollar homes.”  (Michael Hirsh, “Hillary The Progressive,” Politico Magazine, 6/10/14)

In An Interview This Week, Clinton Said That At The End Of Her Husband’s Administration, They Were “Dead Broke,” In Debt And Struggled To “Piece Together Resources” For “Houses.” “‘We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,’ Clinton told Sawyer, referring to the hefty legal fees incurred during their White House years. ‘We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.’” (Liz Kreutz, “Hillary Clinton Defends High-Dollar Speaking Fees,” ABC News, 6/9/14)

  • When They Left The White House, Hillary Clinton Had Signed An $8 Million Book Deal And The Couple Had Purchased Two Homes For Nearly $5 Million. “It is technically true that Clinton was broke when she came out of the White House. The Clintons had no cushion from a previous lucrative life in the private sector, and they had mountains of legal bills from their court fights. But the Clintons were not unlike the couple with the winning Powerball ticket: broke at the moment but with the promise of significant riches ahead. Clinton had signed an $8 million book deal (for her previous book). Before leaving the White House they bought a $3 million Washington home and a nearly $2 million home in Chappaqua, New York.”  (John Dickerson, “Does Hillary Clinton Feel Your Pain?” Slate, 6/10/14)
  • In The Years Between The Clinton Administration And The 2008 Campaign, The Clintons Amassed $109 Million Between Them. “Former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton earned a combined $109 million between 2000 and 2007 and paid $33.8 million in federal taxes, according to tax information released Friday by Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign.” (Jayson K. Jones and Ana C. Rosado, “Clintons Say They Earned $109 Million Since 2000,” The New York Times, 4/4/08)
  • PolitiFact Rated Clinton’s “Dead Broke” Claim As “Mostly False.” “A few weeks before they left the White House, the Clintons were able to muster a cash down payment of $855,000 and secure a $1.995 million mortgage. This hardly fits the common meaning of ‘dead broke.’ We rate the claim Mostly False.” (“Hillary Clinton Says She And Bill Were ‘Dead Broke,’” PolitiFact, 6/9/14)

NBC’s Chuck Todd: Clinton In “Damage Control” Over Her Comments About Her Wealth And  Looks Like A Politician “Who Only Hangs Out With Millionaires.” TODD: “Well, this was more of an example of a politician, perhaps, who only hangs out with millionaires and donors and feels poor by comparison. That’s what that sounded like and this actually gets to one of Hillary Clinton’s potential vulnerabilities, how does she relate to average Americans, having been so long away from being in their shoes. Well, this morning in a live interview, the former Secretary of State attempted some damage control.” (MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” 6/10/14)

Bloomberg’s John Heilemann On Clinton’s “Broke” Claim: “If You Were So Broke, Why Exactly Did You Buy One House Across The Street From The British Embassy And Another In Westchester County?” “‘I don’t what Hillary Clinton would have said if she had been asked detailed questions – ‘Well, how many houses did you have?’ And: ‘If you were so broke, why exactly did you buy one house across the street from the British Embassy and another in Westchester County?’ … Had she been hit with the hardest set of questions you could imagine, with a bulldog-ish set of questions, I don’t know what she would have done.’” (Dylan Byers, “Halperin, Heilemann Slam ‘Rusty’ Clinton,” Politico, 6/12/14)

“It Was A Very Bad Start To A Critical Piece Of Clinton Profile-Building For 2016.” “It was a very bad start to a critical piece of Clinton profile-building for 2016—and does anyone doubt any longer that’s what she’s up to?—because nowhere is Hillary less defined as a candidate than on economic policy.” (Michael Hirsh, “Hillary The Progressive,” Politico Magazine, 6/10/14)

Clinton Again Struggled To Name Her Signature Achievement At The State Department

In A Recent Interview, Hillary Clinton Was Unable To Name A Signature Achievement For Her Tenure At The State Department. DIANE SAWYER: “When people say where is the marquee achievement? No sweeping agreements, no signature doctrine.” HILLARY CLINTON: “We haven’t had a doctrine since containment worked with the Soviet Union, but we’ve had presidents who have made some tough calls, some of which have worked and some of which have not.” (ABC News, 6/9/14)

At An April Appearance, Clinton Became “Flustered” And Had Difficulty Answering What Was Her Proudest Achievement As Secretary. “It was a simple question to someone accustomed to much tougher ones: What was her proudest achievement as secretary of state? But for a moment, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appearing recently before a friendly audience at a women’s forum in Manhattan, seemed flustered.” (Mark Landler and Amy Chozick, “Hillary Clinton Struggles To Define A Legacy In Progress,” The New York Times, 4/16/14)

  • MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart: Hillary Clinton’s Inability To Answer What Her State Department Legacy Was “Troubling.” JONATHAN CAPEHART: “She did not answer the question, she did not answer what her legacy would be. …The fact that Secretary Clinton couldn’t answer the question, especially when she should know that folks are going to ask her this question, should strike people as a bit troubling.” (MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” 4/17/14)

Trying To Connect With Illinoisans – Clinton Stumbled On The History Of Their Most Famous Politician

“During A Speech In Chicago On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton – Who Was Born In Illinois – Misidentified The State’s Most Famous Politician As A Senator, Not A Congressman.” “Abraham Lincoln rose to national prominence in the mid-1800s as a House member from Illinois, a state now affectionately known as the Land of Lincoln, and later as an iconic U.S. president. But during a speech in Chicago on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton – who was born in Illinois – misidentified the state’s most famous politician as a senator, not a congressman.”  (Dan Merica, “Senator Abraham Lincoln? Clinton Misidentifies The Former President,” CNN, 6/11/14)

On Wednesday, Clinton Referred To Former President Abraham Lincoln’s Time As A “Senator.”   CLINTON: “That’s what it was in the beginning, a Senator from Illinois ran against a Senator from New York, just as had happened way back with a Senator from Illinois named Lincoln and a senator from New York named Seward.” (Hillary Clinton, Chicago, IL, 6/11/14)

  • “Lincoln, Of Course, Never Was A U.S. Senator, Although He Did Serve In The U.S. House. Earlier In His Electoral Career, He Was Elected To The Illinois General Assembly As A Member Of The Whig Party.” (John McCormick, “Clinton’s Hometown History Lesson: Lincoln Was What?” Bloomberg, 6/11/14)
  • “Clinton Made The Mistake As She Was Trying To Compare The 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary – Where She, As A Senator From New York, Squared Off With Then-Sen. Barack Obama Of Illinois – To The 1860 Race For The Republican Nomination.” “Clinton made the mistake as she was trying to compare the 2008 Democratic presidential primary – where she, as a senator from New York, squared off with then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois – to the 1860 race for the Republican nomination – where Lincoln, a former congressman at the time, faced off against then-Sen. William Seward of New York.” (Dan Merica, “Senator Abraham Lincoln? Clinton Misidentifies The Former President,” CNN, 6/11/14)


Clinton Said The Released Taliban Prisoners Are “Not A Threat” To The U.S.

Hillary Clinton: The Taliban Five Are “Not A Threat To The United States.” CLINTON: “These five guys are not a threat to the United States. They are a threat to the safety and security of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s up to those two countries to make the decision once and for all that these are threats to them. So I think we may be kind of missing the bigger picture here. We want to get an American home, whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed or they jumped, we try to rescue everybody.” (NBC’s “Today,” 6/11/14)

Clinton Was Fact-Checked On Her Account Of The Benghazi Attack

In Her Book, Clinton Says There Were Marines In Tripoli The Time Of The Benghazi Attack. “Many Americans and even members of Congress were surprised to learn that there were no U.S. Marines assigned to our Benghazi compound. In fact Marines are assigned to only a little over half of all our diplomatic posts around the world, where their primary mission is the protection and, if necessary, the destruction of classified materials and equipment. So while there were Marines stationed at our embassy in Tripoli, where nearly all of our diplomats worked and which had the capability to process classified material, because there was no classified processing at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, there were no Marines posted there.” (Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hard Choices, 2014)

In Her Memoir, Clinton “Seems To Gloss Over The Fact That Marines Were Not Sent Amid A Worsening Security Situation In Libya, And Were Only Sent After The Attack.” “Discussing the most controversial part of her tenure at the State Department in her new book, ‘Hard Choices’ – the attacks on the U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of September 11, 2012 – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to gloss over the fact that Marines were not sent amid a worsening security situation in Libya, and were only sent after the attack.” (Jake Tapper, “In Benghazi Chapter, Clinton Says Marines Were In Tripoli,” CNN, 6/9/14)

  • General Carter Hamm, June 2013: “There Was No Marine Security Detachment In Tripoli.” “But, as General Carter Hamm, the former commander of Africa Command, testified before Congress on June 26, 2013, ‘there was no Marine security detachment in Tripoli.’” (Jake Tapper, “In Benghazi Chapter, Clinton Says Marines Were In Tripoli,” CNN, 6/9/14)
  • “It Wasn’t Until After The Attack That Marines Were Sent To The U.S. Embassy In Tripoli,” Which Is Contentious Considering So Many “Had Been Pleading To The State Department” For Greater Protection In Libya. “It wasn’t until after the attack that Marines were sent to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, a contentious issue before and after the attacks, since so many diplomatic officials and security forces before the attack had been pleading to the State Department for greater military protection in Libya.” (Jake Tapper, “In Benghazi Chapter, Clinton Says Marines Were In Tripoli,” CNN, 6/9/14)

Clinton Was Grilled By The Media About Her Current Positions

Clinton “Had A Tense Exchange With An NPR Host” Who Questioned Her Current Position On Gay Marriage. “Hillary Clinton had a tense exchange with an NPR host in an interview airing Thursday over whether she made ‘a calculus’ against publicly supporting gay marriage before endorsing it last year. It’s the first time Clinton, a potential candidate for president in 2016, has been extensively questioned about her support for gay marriage.” (Maggie Haberman and Katie Glueck, “Hillary Clinton Gets Testy Over Gay Marriage,” Politico, 6/12/14)

ABC’s Diane Sawyer Called Out Hillary Clinton For Ducking Responsibility On The Attack In Benghazi. SAWYER: “Is there anything you personally should have been doing to make it safer in Benghazi?” CLINTON: “What I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security –” SAWYER: “But personally you –” CLINTON: “Well that is personal, though, Diane. I am not — I’m not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That’s why we hire people who have that expertise.” SAWYER: “I wonder if people are looking for a sentence that begins from you, ‘I should have. I should have.’” (ABC’s “Good Morning America,” 6/12/14)


Time Headline: “Hillary Clinton Avoids Hard Choices In Hard Choices (Michael Scherer, “Hillary Clinton Avoids Hard Choices In Hard Choices,” Time, 6/10/14)

Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin: Clinton’s New Book Is “Cautious Mush” And “Tone Deaf.” HALPERIN: “Here’s why I think its tone deaf. There’s nothing in the book that tells you what she would do if she was president. The book might be a great literary masterpiece. She might make a lot of money off it, but if the point of the book is to help advance her presidential campaign, it is cautious mush. If she wants to explain to people why she should be president, she should have done it in the book.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 6/10/14)

  • Halperin: “I Don’t Understood Writing A Book Of That Length Without A Message.” “Of Clinton’s book: ‘I don’t understand writing a book of that length without a message.’” (Dylan Byers, “Halperin, Heilemann Slam ‘Rusty’ Clinton,” Politico, 6/12/14)

Time’s Michael Crowley: “Hard Choices Is Not A Literary Event But A Political One.” “All of it underscored the obvious: Hard Choices is not a literary event but a political one.” (Michael Crowley, “Hillary’s Highly Choreographed Reality,” Time, 6/12/14)

Politico’s Mike Allen: Clinton’s Memoir Is A “Newsless Snore.” “WELCOME TO HILLARY WEEK!  TRUTH BOMB 1: ‘Hard Choices’ is a newsless snore, written so carefully not to offend that it will fuel the notion that politics infuses every part of her life. In this book, like in ‘The Lego Movie’ theme song, everyone is awesome!” (Mike Allen, Politico Playbook, 6/9/14)

CBS News’ John Dickerson: “Clinton’s Account Is The Low-Salt, Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Offering With Vanilla Pudding As The Dessert. She Goes On At Great Length, But Not Great Depth.” (John Dickerson, “Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’: New Book Plays It Safe,” CBS News, 6/6/14)

  •  “But What She Does Not Tell Us What She Learned From Blowing Any Of The Hard Choices.” (John Dickerson, “Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’: New Book Plays It Safe,” CBS News, 6/6/14)

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius: “In ‘Hard Choices,’ Hillary Clinton Is Seen As Hesitant To Take Big Risks” (David Ignatius, Op-Ed, “In ‘Hard Choices,’ Hillary Clinton Is Seen As Hesitant To Take Big Risks,” The Washington Post, 6/9/14)

  • “[I]n These Many Hundreds Of Pages, There Are Very Few Deals Concluded, Agreements Signed, Policies Brought To Fruition.” “One criticism of Clinton has been that while she was a good ‘representational’ diplomat (willing to be a ‘punching bag,’ she says, if that would help America), she was not as good in the ‘transactional’ part of the job. And it’s true — in these many hundreds of pages, there are very few deals concluded, agreements signed, policies brought to fruition.” (David Ignatius, Op-Ed, “In ‘Hard Choices,’ Hillary Clinton Is Seen As Hesitant To Take Big Risks,” The Washington Post, 6/9/14)

The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani: “There Is Little News In The Book.” (Michiko Kakutani, “Hillary Clinton’s Book ‘Hard Choices’ Portrays A Tested Policy Wonk,” The New York Times, 6/7/14)

  • “‘Hard Choices,’ Like Mrs. Clinton’s Tenure At The State Department, Does Not Evince A Grand, Overarching Foreign Policy Vision, As Henry A. Kissinger’s 1994 Book ‘Diplomacy’ Did.” (Michiko Kakutani, “Hillary Clinton’s Book ‘Hard Choices’ Portrays A Tested Policy Wonk,” The New York Times, 6/7/14)