Hillary Clinton has been struggling to appear “genuine” on the campaign trail, and now her supporters might be facing the same challenge.
Although campaigns and super PACs have long since attempted to feed talking points and tips to surrogates, a pro-Clinton group is now trying to script “grass roots” support for the Democrat presidential hopeful, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reports that a super PAC called “Correct the Record” – run by Media Matters founder and longtime Clinton family insider David Brock – has been setting up “training” classes in early-voting states as part of an effort to help local Clinton supporters learn how to “humanize” the candidate and speak about her political record to friends, family, and the media.
The fact that a prominent pro-Clinton super PAC is named “Correct the Record” doesn’t exactly instill confidence that the candidate is free of political baggage. But Brock is still determined to script supporters on the “merits” of a Clinton candidacy.
Kathy Sullivan, a Democrat National Committee member from New Hampshire, attended one of the workshops, and told the Post that it helped her “talk about the Hillary Clinton we know.”
The super PAC organized event, designed to coach supporters on Clinton’s talking points, distributed campaign-style bullet points on Hillary’s “accomplishments,” held training sessions for supporters, and even included a role playing exercise to help participants practice their newly developed skills.
“Many people who are very vocal in supporting Secretary Clinton are very comfortable talking about why among their friends and in small groups — but when it comes to talking to the media, that can be very intimidating,” said Eleni Kounalakis – a “grass roots” supporter who just happened to serve as ambassador to Hungary in Clinton’s State Department.
“Some people feel like, ‘I know Hillary has been there for the working person in her life, in her career, but I want someone to help me prepare those arguments so that I have that confidence to speak in a broader context,’” she told the Post after attending a session in California.
This isn’t the first time Brock’s super PAC has organized training sessions for supporters of Clinton. The organization held similar coaching sessions that coincided with the release of Clinton’s newest book, “Hard Choices,” as part of an effort to craft the candidate’s image ahead of her announcement to run for president.
Clearly, that campaign wasn’t a huge success. Undeterred, the PAC has expanded its focus to target voters in key presidential states ahead of the Democrat primary.
The Post describes the project as “ambitious,” but also noted the concern that building a “grass-roots” echo chamber could backfire on the Clinton campaign, which has been struggling to generate a groundswell of organic support.
After all, when it takes workshops, scripts, and coaching to “humanize” a candidate, there might be some broader, underlying issues with her overall image.