Hillary Clinton appears to be jumping into the 2016 race for the White House this week, coming out with a series of policy speeches. But former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs fears that Hillary is jumping in too soon, and NBC’s Chuck Todd thinks she may be intensifying Obama’s lame duck status by launching into her campaign so early, marginalizing Obama sooner than necessary.
Gibbs and Todd made their comments on the August 18 broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press.
Host David Gregory began the segment noting that Hillary is beginning a series of policy speeches starting this upcoming week and “laying the groundwork” for her campaign message ahead of the 2016 race for president.
As the segment began, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd expressed his shock over the timing of Hillary’s speeches.
“I am surprised in this first year that she is getting political this quickly,” he said.
Todd pointed out that Clinton has “sky-high bipartisan approval ratings” right now and coming out on heavy politics this far out from the 2016 campaign cycle risks bringing negatives far sooner the need be.
When Gregory turned to former Obama operative Gibbs he found agreement.
“I completely agree with Chuck,” Gibbs began. “I, as a strategist, am fairly floored that she has decided to enter the public fray so quickly… she could develop a message without having to be so far out front there. And– and, you know, Chuck talks about strong bipartisan approval ratings, those will whittle quite quickly as she steps further and further [out on the political stage].”
But it was Todd who had the keener point to make; this early politicking could hurt Obama.
Todd warned that when a lame duck president is in office the attention his policy goals get is shared by the representative of his party seeking a bid for the next term. This shifted or “split” focus takes some power from that lame duck president as people pay less and less attention to him in favor of discussing the new candidates.
…the more she talks out there, the more you start seeing a gravitational pull back towards Hillary. This hurts the current president of the United States as trying to be leader of the Democratic Party, as trying to move the party as he gets ready for a bunch of fall fights. You know, lame duck status happens in two phases, right? The first phase is lame duck status in Washington between the presidency and the White House. And then there’s a second phase of lame duck status inside your own party.
Todd said that Clinton’s “coming out early” speeds up the “lame duck process of Barack Obama inside the Democratic Party.”