Emails show Clin­ton cam­paign at­ten­tion to black vot­ers

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Dar­lene Su­perville

Hacked emails from the per­sonal ac­count of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s top cam­paign of­fi­cial show some of the at­ten­tion her team paid to court­ing black vot­ers.

There were wor­ries about Ver­mont Sen. Bernie San­ders’ ap­peal to that his­tor­i­cally Demo­cratic voter group. There was angst over whether Clin­ton should give a speech on race re­la­tions. Mean­while, a South Carolina Demo­cratic Party of­fi­cial voiced con­cerns that Clin­ton hadn’t vis­ited a par­tic­u­lar re­gion of the state.

The emails were among hun­dreds re­leased Satur­day by Wik­iLeaks. The notes were stolen from the email ac­count of John Podesta, the Clin­ton cam­paign’s chair­man, as part of a se­ries of high-pro­file com­puter hacks of Demo­cratic tar­gets that U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials say were or­ches­trated by Russia, with the in­tent to in­flu­ence the Nov. 8 elec­tion.

It was im­pos­si­ble to au­then­ti­cate each hacked email that Wik­iLeaks pub­lished, but Democrats have openly ac­knowl­edged they were hacked and have not pointed to any spe­cific case where an email was al­tered to in­flict po­lit­i­cal dam­age. SPEECH ON RACE Clin­ton’s cam­paign de­bated whether she should give a speech on race.

Her chief speech­writer, Dan Sch­w­erin, emailed Podesta, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Jen­nifer Palmieri and oth­ers in Fe­bru­ary 2016 to say that, as con­ceived, the speech would demon­strate Clin­ton’s “sus­tained and com­pre­hen­sive com­mit­ment” to im­prov­ing race re­la­tions and her life­long sym­pa­thy to­ward the plight of mi­nori­ties in the U.S.

Both Bill Clin­ton and can­di­date Clin­ton were clear that the speech shouldn’t be “a big mea culpa,” but the for­mer pres­i­dent also said “we shouldn’t try to de­fend the in­de­fen­si­ble.”

Sch­w­erin went on to say that ad­viser Minyon Moore had raised tough ques­tions about the wis­dom of mak­ing the speech be­cause it could “un­in­ten­tion­ally end up el­e­vat­ing ques­tions that aren’t yet be­ing widely asked and in­tro­duce new dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially su­per preda­tor, to a lot more vot­ers.”

In a 1996 speech about Bill Clin­ton’s crime bill when she was first lady, Hil­lary Clin­ton de­scribed young peo­ple in gangs as “su­per-preda­tors.”

Some blacks find the term of­fen­sive and have sought dur­ing the cam­paign to hold her ac­count­able for it. Hil­lary Clin­ton has said she re­grets us­ing the term.

Af­ter a “gut check” con­ver­sa­tion with Moore and sub­se­quent talks with pol­icy ad­vis­ers Jake Sul­li­van and Maya Har­ris, Sch­w­erin says in the email that the cam­paign hi­er­ar­chy is “mostly per­suaded” by Moore’s con­cerns. In­stead, a de­ci­sion to push the Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion is­sue could re­place the race speech.

Sch­w­erin ul­ti­mately closes his memo with the idea that “if we’re slip­ping fast, maybe it’s worth rolling the dice and do­ing the speech. If we’re hold­ing rel­a­tively steady, maybe we see if we can ride this out with­out do­ing the speech.”

Clin­ton of­fered a de­tailed plan to over­come racial dis­par­i­ties in a Fe­bru­ary speech in Har­lem. state cap­i­tal.

Craig says he as­sured Har­ri­son that such a visit is a top pri­or­ity for the for­mer first lady, or her hus­band, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton. (Clin­ton vis­ited the re­gion in late Fe­bru­ary and later won the state’s Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial pri­mary.)

Craig says Har­ri­son also men­tioned the need to bring younger sur­ro­gates into the state, not just well-known, older politi­cos. He says he of­fered Har­ri­son a par­tial list of black en­ter­tain­ers they’ve asked to travel to the state, in­clud­ing singer Usher, ac­tors An­thony An­der­son and Gabrielle Union, and ath­letes Alonzo Mourn­ing and Grant Hill.

Craig says, “I feel con­fi­dent we will be able to in­crease the amount of sur­ro­gates we have in South Carolina - more im­por­tantly the RIGHT kind.” staffers about San­ders, who had chal­lenged Clin­ton for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion all the way through to the end of the pri­mary process.

The Ver­mont se­na­tor had built his cam­paign around an anti-Wall Street, anti-es­tab­lish­ment mes­sage with strong ap­peal to pro­gres­sives

In the email, Podesta says of San­ders: “He’ll be at Sharp­ton ral­lies pretty soon,” re­fer­ring to civil rights ac­tivist Al Sharp­ton. “Still think we should do some­thing with him on VRA An­niver­sary.”

AN­DREW HARNIK—THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign man­ager John Podesta speaks to mem­bers of the me­dia out­side Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton’s home in Wash­ing­ton.

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