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NH needs an unscripted Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 13:27
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(Before It's News)

By Paul Briand

If U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and husband Bill Shaheen have any sway over Hillary Clinton at all, they should give her the following advice for her return trip to New Hampshire: Less script, more spontaneity.

The Shaheens are good friends with the Clintons, both Bill, the former president, and Hillary, the former first lady, former U.S. senator from New York, former secretary of state, and current Democratic candidate for president.

Bill Shaheen, a lawyer, was her statewide campaign co-manager during her 2008 run for president, at least until he stepped down because of some untoward remarks about Barack Obama. She won New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary over Obama, though it was Obama who ultimately won the Democratic party nomination.
A lot of staffers who worked for Jeanne Shaheen in her 2014 re-election bid over Republican Scott Brown have signed on with the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign.

Clinton’s first visit to New Hampshire as an announced presidential candidate was a tidy, scripted affair for the most part.

Future visits need to be a lot more untidy and unscripted.

Her visits earlier this week to Keene and Concord had all the earmarks of someone who didn’t want to be sullied with the hoi polloi of retail politics. The venues –  the Whitney Brothers furniture factory in Keene and the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord — were set up in advance, the topics were rehearsed in advance, and the participants likely vetted in advance.

The only spontaneous visit was to a Keene bakery to chat briefly with workers and customers.

If Clinton doesn’t do more of the latter and less of the former, she runs the danger of becoming distant and uninteresting to that most important bloc of Granite State voters — the undeclared, the so-called independents.

Clinton is already in danger of being distant and uninteresting because she is the only Democratic presidential candidate. She’s trying to come across as if her nomination isn’t a fait accompli, but that’s a hard notion to dispel with such an empty slate on the Democratic side compared to the circus of candidates on the Republican side.

She needs New Hampshire’s independent voters as a sign in the primary that her candidacy has gravitas, not among the party regulars and the party faithful such as the Shaheens and all their minions, but among the undecided, independent thinkers who will ultimately decide the next president.

The voters who are undeclared in terms of party affiliation can take whatever ballot they want during a primary election. And these independents right now are probably finding the Republican contest a heck of a lot more interesting than Clinton as a solo show.

Hillary Clinton needs to make her campaign relevant to the independents.

She needs to come to New Hampshire again and not talk to the political base, but talk to those who have their doubts. She needs to visit more places where people don’t know in advance she’s coming. She needs to take questions, she needs to be challenged about the things that will be uncomfortable for her — like Benghazi and secretary of state email accounts, if that’s what people want to talk about.

If they want to chat her up about her grandchild, then fine. But she should also be willing to be chatted up about financial contributions to the Clinton Foundation. She needs to start a narrative on those issues one-on-one with voters, rather than let her legion of Republican opponents establish the narrative.

The review on Clinton’s visit, at least according to the Concord Monitor, was that she kept a low profile. She generated a lot of headlines, for sure, but she probably didn’t generate a lot of interest from the majority of the voters who really count.

Live Free or Die Alliance


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