Hillary Clinton’s Crisis Response: Ask Friendly Media To Laugh At Email Revelations

Seth Wenig/AP

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is carefully drafting jokes to minimize and soften the friendly media’s coverage of her dramatic email scandals, according to Wikileaks’ dump of emails from campaign chairman John Podesta’s inbox.

Clinton speechwriter Dan Schwerin wrote to colleagues on March 20, 2015, shortly after the public first learned of Clinton’s use of a poorly protected, home-built email system while she was Secretary of State.

All, here are draft remarks for the Toner Prize event on Monday evening. We had talked about a few possible goals for this speech: 1) clear the air a bit with the press, possibly with self-deprecating humor; 2) explain the important role that serious, fact-based journalism plays in our democracy, as opposed to gotcha-style politics of personal destruction; 3) and play a little offense on health care given that Monday is the 5-year anniversary of the ACA. Of these sections, the first one is where I could really use your input. Do the jokes in here work? Do you have suggestions for punching any of them up? Robin’s husband Peter likes the idea of HRC being funny up there, and she says she is open to it as well, but we’ll have to see if she really goes for it. Thanks Dan

Clinton chief strategist Joel Benenson acknowledged the “seriousness” of the scandal in his reply:

I don’t think the jokes are working – a little too close to the bone without a punchline that really works at taking the seriousness out of it. Wonder if we could have think of a few funny “private” emails to reporters that she could read…. Obviously they would have to be both self-deprecating but could poke a little fun at them…

An August 2015 script for Clinton suggested she should accept a little blame for the home-built email network, and then try to soften the expect public reaction with a few jokes:

When President Obama asked me to serve as Secretary of State, ‎ it seemed simpler to have just one email address. After all, my predecessors at State had not relied on Department email. In hindsight, though, this has proven anything but simple…

And while I can’t predict the future, let me finish by taking a stab: ‎

There will be many more emails to pour through.

Some will be serious, some will be personal or mundane. ‎

You know I’m not great with a fax, but you’re also going to learn my secret salad dressing recipe and who sent me LinkedIn requests. (And whose I didn’t accept!)

Another March 2015 email from John Podesta’s email account shows the team drafting jokes for a D.C. dinner, with the aid of comedian Jon Lovett. One of the jokes was a supposed email from Vice President Joe Biden to President Barack Obama:

FROM: JoeyBiden@geocities.com

TO: BarackH@gmail.co.ke

OK, I cann barely type this but my hand i sstuck insdie the vendign machine aand if I let go I lose the snickers, tell me what to do boss.

The Clinton team is now using the same tactic to mute the dramatic disclosures in Podesta’s emails, which include her support for an open borders policy, which would completely change the United States if implemented.

One of the hacked emails showed Podesta’s recipe for risotto, so Clinton’s team has begun making risotto-related jokes to distract the establishment media from paying attention to the shocking revelations in the Podesta’s inbox.

The Clinton team also made fun of Julian Assange, who takes credit for releasing Podesta’s emails via the Wikileaks site. Assange, an international fugitive, has found sanctuary in an Ecuadorean embassy .





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