A former speechwriter for President Obama admitted to top Hillary Clinton aides that his campaign tried to get her to play the role of the “wet blanket” during the 2008 primary.
“In 2008, we would purposely bait her into playing the wet blanket so we could turn around and whack her for it,” former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote in a strategy memo to top Clinton aides Jennifer Palmieri and Jake Sullivan.
Favreau, now a political strategist, pitched several strong ideas for Clinton’s campaign, including a detailed description of her “Stronger Together” message that her campaign eventually adopted entirely.
He pointed out that Bernie Sanders was already campaigning successfully on class and economic divides, but cautioned that it was a “a very white male centric view of the world (a Bernie Bro view, if you will)”
Favreau advised Clinton to focus on fighting “intolerance and bigotry” exhibited by Donald Trump and right wing Americans. “Who better to deliver that message than First Lady-turned-Secretary of State who could become America’s first female president?” he asked. Favreau wrote:
Hillary can pick up the mantle here in a very inspiring way. She just has to tweak it and be careful that it doesn’t sound like she’s listing off interest groups – here’s my black speech, here’s my Latino policy, here’s my woman’s event, etc. She needs to combine her policies with her record with a vision of the country and the world where we’re stronger together than we are divided against each other. That’s different than “stronger together than we are on our own,” which would be more of a Bernie/Obama ’12 message that’s all about right-wing economics. This is an evolution of that message that’s primarily a response to the intolerance and bigotry of Trump and the right. She should be talking about love and kindness. She should be talking about mutual respect and tolerance. She should be talking about rebuilding the bonds of community and rebuilding friendships, not just between nations, but between people all over the world. Not just compassion for compassion’s sake – but because we’re stronger when we’re pulling together’ when everyone feels like they’re part of the team.
He argued that Clinton could carry the inspiring Obama message forward if she was careful.