Former president Bill Clinton was so worried about his wife’s ability to attract voters that he enlisted the aid of legendary film maker Steven Spielberg to make Hillary Clinton more marketable.
The verdict? She needs to pretend better.
That was one revelation from the book “Unlikeable” by muckraking journalist Ed Klein, according to the New York Post.
Klein’s work, based heavily on the use of anonymous sources, has often led to him being accused of writing fiction rather than reporting facts. But for anyone who has watched the former first lady, senator and secretary of state throughout her three decades-plus in the national spotlight, the idea that she needed help from a master of illusion to appear likable isn’t hard to believe.
The Post reported:
She hired an assistant to run a video camera in the den of Whitehaven, her home in the fashionable Observatory Circle neighborhood of northwest Washington, DC. It was just the two of them, her and the camera guy, who had to sign a confidentiality agreement so he couldn’t blab to the press.
Later, after the recording session was over, she watched herself on the TV set. She sat in the dark, dressed in a blue muumuu that she’d recently purchased online at Amazon.com, and scrutinized her facial expressions, her hand gestures, the pitch of her voice, and her use of eye contact.
So Hillary reviewed videos of previous speeches she’d made, and sent what she thought were the best ones to Spielberg’s office, along with a reminder that everyone involved with the project was sworn to secrecy.
The critique wasn’t flattering: The coaches thought she appeared bored and irritated.
Although she still thought the process was a total waste of time, there was one aspect she agreed may be helpful — working on her facial expressions, according to the Post.
Around this time Clinton invited several friends to Whitehaven, and one of the women noticed the video equipment and asked what it was for.
“Speech practice,” Hillary said, according to Klein.
“My coaches tell me I’m supposed to pretend when I speak. Pretend that I actually like the audience. I’m supposed to force myself to keep a smile on my face. I’m supposed to think happy thoughts. To think of Chelsea or Charlotte or my [late] mother. But not about Bill, because even though I love him to death, he makes me tear my hair out.”
The likability lessons were shelved when her presidential campaign heated up and it became obvious they weren’t working.
“For more than a decade, Mrs. Clinton has tried to swat away a persistent concern about her ability to connect with voters,” noted The New York Times. “‘Saturday Night Live’ recently captured that problem in a sketch featuring an actress playing Mrs. Clinton, who said of herself at one point, ‘What a relatable laugh!’ Years of security-infused Bubble Wrap around her travels and a wealthy lifestyle have done little to pull Mrs. Clinton closer to voters.”
The Post reported:
When Hillary spoke in public, she still had trouble making eye contact with her audience. Her eyes wandered from the text of her speech or her talking points to some unfocused spot on the ceiling and back again. Her voice was flat and uninflected.
And it shows in her faltering poll numbers.
Even the far-left self-described Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders outpaces her in both Iowa, the site of the first Democratic presidential caucus, and New Hampshire, where her party’s first presidential primary will be held.
When the Post promoted its story on Twitter, one social media hound observed of Spielberg:
@nypost ..he’s good,but he’s not that good….
— Amber Kelly (@AmberKe52994874) September 27, 2015
The question is, isn’t America better than that?
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