Paul Begala: 'Hillary is who she is'

Editor's Note: The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works at the institute.

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton's famous reserve, often seen as a political obstacle, could become a major asset in her race for the presidency against Donald Trump, says her longtime friend and super PAC strategist.

"Hillary is who she is... She is running for the presidency of the United States of America. Words can launch armies and move markets, so yes, she's very deliberate, and... she should celebrate and highlight that," Paul Begala, adviser to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA, told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
The campaign process will continue to "strip all of that reserve away," and will ultimately provide a stark contrast to what he describes as the sometimes "cruel" and "savage" tactics of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
    Begala, who served as a strategist for the 1992 Bill Clinton-Al Gore campaign and adviser to former President Clinton during his time in office, says his interactions with Clinton over the years have offered a him sharply different impression of than the prevailing image.
    "I've had drinks with her, I've danced with her... she's played with my kids. She was the first person outside my family to call Diane when she had... our first baby, in the middle of the campaign. So I have seen that part of her, and I've seen her, frankly, in the greatest pain you could be in," said Begala, referring to the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the death of Hillary Clinton's father in 1993. "So I am 100% comfortable, honestly, with her heart and her soul."
    "She's a person of... such stellar character, but it's just hard for her to peel that back."
    To hear the whole conservation with Begala, which also touched on the relationship between Clinton and the press and why he thinks Senator John McCain may "punch Trump in the nose" one day, click on To get "The Axe Files" podcast every week, subscribe at