Democratic political advisor Ron Klain urged senior members of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to prepare to field questions concerning former president Bill Clinton’s conduct toward women, according to an internal campaign email released by WikiLeaks Thursday.
In an email to senior Clinton campaign officials Jake Sullivan, Karen Dunn and John Podesta in January, Klain — who served as Chief of Staff to both Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden and was reportedly helping Clinton with debate prep — urged the campaign to prepare responses to “political questions” which he perceived to be “really owning” media coverage at the time.
The question list included queries related to “WJC Issues,” apparently referring to former president Bill Clinton. One of the questions stated: “How is what Bill Clinton did different from what Bill Cosby did?”
4. WJC Issues
a. Is his conduct relevant to your campaign?
b. You said every woman should be believed. Why not the women who accused him?
c. Will you apologize to the women who were wrongly smeared by your husband and his allies?
d. How is what Bill Clinton did different from what Bill Cosby did?
Klain also urged the campaign to prepare responses to political questions concerning the candidate herself:
1. Are you slipping in the polls? Why?
2. Do new revelations about your emails bring these issues back?
3. Can voters trust you?
Clinton’s top foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan responded to Klain’s email by suggesting the team review the questions about the candidate, but asked for guidance from campaign chair John Podesta about “how to handle” the questions concerning Bill Clinton. It wasn’t immediately clear if Podesta responded to Sullivan’s request.
Cosby, 79, has been the subject of dozens of allegations of sexual assault and rape over the past year. In May, the comedian was ordered to stand trial in Pennsylvania on charges of allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at his Cheltenham Township home in 2004.
Some, including Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, have compared Cosby’s conduct with Clinton’s; in January, Trump said in a radio interview that it would be a “very interesting question” to ask Bill Clinton about the comparison, while Citizens United released a video that month linking the behavior of both men.
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